Erik ten Hag Can Add Whole New Dimension to Midfield With One Simple Decision – Opinion

Donny van de Beek

Donny van de Beek is in his third year as a Manchester United player. This season, however, he has only played a grand total of 19 minutes so far. A lifeline of some sort was expected by everyone once Erik ten Hag was appointed as the new coach in the summer. Despite these positive signs, the midfielder mysteriously remains out of favour.

How Erik ten Hag Can Unlock a New Dimension of His Midfield With Donny van de Beek

Donny van de Beek’s Past Relationship With Erik ten Hag

The Dutch international and Ten Hag enjoyed a positive relationship, professionally at least. During their time together at Ajax, they reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 while winning the League and Cup double in Holland. The midfielder was a key player throughout his time under Ten Hag.

Fans of the Dutch midfielder can therefore be forgiven for thinking a resurrection of the player’s Manchester United career would take place. However, things have been quite the opposite.

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The Season That Started With So Much Promise

The season started brightly for the midfielder, appearing in all of United’s pre-season fixtures. He received a lot of minutes in those games. He also played the entirety of the club’s final pre-season outing – usually a good sign for the player’s chances of starting the season. Despite these encouragements, he received minimal chances. The Dutch international came on to play a total of only 16 minutes in United’s embarrassing opening two games. The only time he has appeared since then was another 4 minutes in the win over Liverpool. Since then, the £35m signing has disappeared.

What the Dutchman Can Bring to the Manchester United Midfield

Ten Hag has shown that he wants players who he can trust and who know his system well. The signings of Lisandro Martinez, and Antony and the reported interest in the likes of Sergino Dest and Jurrien Timber illustrate this point. The new Old Trafford chief is adamant his players must adhere to his line and not vice versa. This sense of professional and tactical familiarity is one that should be in favour of the Dutch international. The former Ajax midfielder is more than adept at moving the ball quickly, something his manager has shown he wants his team to be able to do. His simple effective passing style and exceptional in-game intelligence see him pick up a lot of promising positions. This natural understanding of space, positioning and time on the ball is one this United team could do with having more of.

What the Future Holds for the Dutch International

However, whether due to injuries or his coach’s preferences, Van de Beek has been completely absent since the aforementioned Liverpool game. Reports have since claimed that his future is still up in the air and down to him needing to convince his manager of his fitness. Nevertheless, this has been quite a surprising turn of events for the Dutchman. Despite his old coach coming in, with whom he enjoyed previous success, the player is still to be utilised. Decorated Brazilian midfielder Casemiro signed on August 22 to give further competition in his position. Whether it be due to injuries or poor application in training, time may be up for the Dutch midfielder at Manchester United.