Manchester United legend Sammy McIlroy says that this weekend’s game with Newcastle is the ‘ideal’ opportunity for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give a game to Donny van de Beek.
All of the attention is going to be on whether or not a certain Portuguese superstar makes his second debut, but to those with long-standing relationships at Old Trafford, there have been words of caution about the functionality of the team in midfield.
Most supporters felt the team needed a new midfielder, but Ronaldo’s arrival has meant one fewer place up front, so Paul Pogba will presumably have to move further back – creating a conundrum in the middle of the park that Solskjaer must address immediately.
That starts this weekend, but with Scott McTominay still recuperating from his operation, and Fred unavailable due to the nonsense with the Brazilian FA, it means there is potentially an opening for the player whose representatives have been making a lot of noise over the international break.
Van De Beek has never been given a proper run of games, but many believe he can be the disciplined ball player and tempo-setter the side needs.
And McIlroy – who made a career out of being a skilful player in the middle of the park – thinks this weekend is the best chance to try it out.
“You would imagine that McTominay will be the player who will be picked before Donny, but I’d love to see Donny get a go,” McIlroy said, speaking exclusively to Talk Of The Devils. “I think we’re still trying to get him to show exactly what he can do and when you’ve spent around £40m on a player and you’ve only given him a few starts… if there’s any doubt about any player, he should be the one you get in to give a chance to. He didn’t play with Holland, he’s definitely well-rested, this would be the ideal opportunity for him to play at home to Newcastle.”
The game promises to be a huge event, but McIlroy feels Solskjaer has to get to grips with his new dynamic as quickly as possible.
“Who he (Van De Beek) plays alongside is another matter,” he says. “You would imagine Ronaldo will start through the middle. Does Pogba go on the left again? I still think Ole will go with his usual shape, but even though there is increased attention on this game, he’s still got to work at getting it right, because fitting all these talented players into a team isn’t going to be easy.”