The Netherlands resume their World Cup qualifier campaign away in Latvia on Friday with a clear omission from Louis van Gaal’s 26-man squad.
As his teammates fly around the world internationally, Donny van de Beek remains at Manchester United’s Carrington training complex after watching his desperate battle for playing time at club level transfer to his country.
International calls have often given Van de Beek refuge from his difficult start to life at Old Trafford, but after being stripped of his place at Euro 2020 due to injury, this latest snub means he has not been in his country since scoring. in March 7-0 defeat in Gibraltar.
Van Gaal’s failure comes amid a backdrop of routine club-level prospects, with Van de Beek only playing in three of United’s 10 matches in all competition this season and facing intense competition for places after the return of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard.
His two starts have come in somewhat temporary line-ups and have coincided with two of United’s three defeats this season against the Young Boys in the Champions League and West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
Players are rightly given time to adapt to new surroundings, but in Van de Beek’s case, this grace period is coming to an end if it has not already done so, and the player, manager and club seem to be lost where they should turn next. .
But with the exception of one goal in his Premier League debut – which was overshadowed by defeat to Crystal Palace in United’s first match of the 2020/21 season – and the odd glimmer of potential, Van de Beek’s transfer is one that promised so much. but continues to deliver so little.
‘If there is no need for me, Solskjær will let me go’
In many eyes, Van de Beek was the prominent player in the famous Ajax squad that lit the Champions League on its way to the semi-finals in 2018/19, but after being a crucial component in Erik ten Hag’s side, Ole Gunnar Solskjær did not give him the same luxury.
In early September, Van de Beek broke his silence about his failed adaptation to life in Manchester and took the opportunity to confirm his faith in his manager.
“I have to trust him,” said the Dutchman Rio Ferdinand’s mood with five podcast. “If he does not need me, I think he will let me go. I think he has plans for me, I just have to work hard, and hope one day I can show the people what I can.
“You can never promise a player whether he wants to play or not, but I agree that I need to play more. You can train hard every day, but in the end you need playing time to show your best form. If you play once a month, you can’t show your best. “
Van de Beek’s three appearances for United this season followed in the ensuing weeks, but his inability to leave a lasting impression or Solskjaer’s inability to get a tune out of the player spelled the beginning of more time on the sidelines.
Van de Beek’s visible frustration
In his honor, Van de Beek has retained his advice and trusted the process – publicly at least – with bedding at Manchester United, but his reaction to not being brought off the bench in last week’s Champions League win over Villarreal when United needed for a goal would indicate that his frustrations are on the verge of boiling over.
Confirmation that Fred and Lingard would be set in motion when United’s last two substitutions caused Van de Beek to bring him warming up on the sidelines suddenly as he stormed back to the excavation trying to remove his bib in a visible rage. .
When they were seated, Van de Beek’s teammates tried to calm him down, but were helpless as he threw the chewing gum in the direction of Solskjær and assistant Mike Phelan. A violent outburst perhaps, but also a sign of a player much at the end of his tether.
Solskjær did his best to sip the potential media storm in the bud at a press conference a few days later, but not even the Norwegian’s charm could break down into public dissatisfaction, nor was he able to offer anything new about how he plans to help Van de Beek turn the corner.
Are Donny’s days at Old Trafford numbered?
Perhaps more worrying for Manchester United is that while there is no solution to Van de Beek’s matches, the player’s camp is actively pursuing a route out of Old Trafford.
Van de Beek’s agent has made no secret of his desire to secure a new challenge for his client. A summer move to Everton sounded and was decided, only for Solskjær to veto the transfer, as representative Guido Albers explained in a recent interview with Ziggo Sports.
“We had talks with Solskjær and the board. We took the initiative to find a club, and our search ended in Everton.”
The revelations have since been released by Goodison Park football director Marcel Brands, who told U.S: “We had him [Van de Beek] on our list. At the beginning of the transfer window we asked at United, then it was impossible.
“At the end of the window, I received a call from Guido Albers, his agent, that he might be rented out after all. But at the last minute, it was canceled, stopped again.”
Despite Solskjaer’s apparent persistence and Van de Beek’s public beliefs, both parties appear to be on different sides, wheels moving for a potential exit and an inevitable realization marked by regret of glances on the horizon.
After beating the competition from Real Madrid for Van de Beek’s signature, United have not really exploited their undoubted talent, while the player, after leaving his childhood Ajax for one of probably two clubs in Europe, has fallen far to justify its £ 39 million price tag.
Van de Beek is not the only former Ajax player to have endured test times that have moved to new pastures that Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt at Juventus will witness, but while others have been caught up in events that swallowing up their new clubs off the pitch, Van de Beek’s problem is that he’s barely been on the pitch.
Solskjær has received most of his signings since taking the helm at Old Trafford right, but the transfer of Van de Beek increasingly looks like a case of the right player at the wrong time.