The international break may serve as an ideal chance for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and his Manchester United coaching staff to take a step back and evaluate the season so far, but the national team’s commitments also appear to steal his side from two senior players for their next meeting.
Fred and Edinson Cavani both started in this weekend’s draw with Everton, but are unlikely to feature in the next league game out at Leicester for a week on Saturday given their ongoing adventure in South America.
Brazil and Uruguay will face each other in their third World Cup qualifier in the current international break on the eve of United’s trip to King Power Stadium, so they only have 36 hours to return to England for the match. that.
That means United will have to make at least two changes in their match against Leicester and it could finally be the perfect opportunity for Donny van de Beek to get a start in the Premier League after a disappointing season so far.
Since joining United from Ajax last summer, Van de Beek has only started four times in the Premier League and has been an unused substitute on 25 occasions.
The 24-year-old was an unused replacement again in this weekend’s draw with Everton a few days after a fit of rage that saw him throw his training leg and throw the chewing gum when it became clear he would not be involved in the final phase of midweek in the Champions League victory of Villarreal.
There seems to be an ingenuity in modern football that a player on the periphery is supported by followers to be their Messiah, and that a single change of person can completely change the look of the team, even though there is real reason to believe that Van de Beek has such power given his documented track record at Ajax.
Of their golden generation, which reached the Champions League semi-final two years ago, it was Van de Beek who undoubtedly shone brightest and attracted Real Madrid’s interest in his dynamic midfield, which saw him contribute to a short-handed pass and supplement the front line with his intelligent ran into the field.
His calm on the ball, combined with a delicate dribbling ability, are two key factors that can help add extra threat to an overwhelming United midfield and help form an identity that has been lacking so far this season.
Although the solution is not just to throw Van de Beek into the line-up and see fortunes change, but instead make sure he has a more defensive-minded partner next to complement his own strengths and form the basis for a robust team duo.
The biggest problem for the Dutchman has been that he is simply not trusted enough by Solskjær and cannot be trusted in situations, just as Fred and Scott McTominay’s controversial partnership is. There is a perception that the ‘McFred’ axis may need to return to the upcoming race of matches against bigger sides, but before then it looks like Van de Beek will finally get another chance at Leicester to influence the mindset.
Fred’s expected absence leaves United with a gap to fill in midfield and leaves Solskjaer with a little excuse, but to give his £ 35million. Signature a chance to prove why he was signed in the first place.
United fans may be finally getting their election wish, so it will be entirely up to Van de Beek to make it a reality.