Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek is working exceptionally hard in pre-season training to convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he can be an important member of the side next season, according to reports. The Dutchman has struggled to hit the ground running since his move to Old Trafford from Ajax a year ago, with Bruno Fernandes only strengthening his grip on the attacking midfield berth over the course of the previous campaign.
Van de Beek made 36 appearances for United in all competitions but was limited to just four Premier League starts.
He was forced to spend the majority of the season on the substitutes’ bench after failing to impress in Europa League and FA Cup action.
The midfielder’s poor form has led to speculation that a summer exit could be on the cards, with Barcelona reportedly tracking his situation with a keen interest.
The Catalan giants have been credited with a desire to bring Van de Beek to the Nou Camp ahead of the new season, but the man himself appears to be hell-bent on working his way into Solskjaer’s plans at United.
He is looking to stake his claim for an increase in first-team involvement by performing well in training as the Red Devils gear up for a renewed Premier League title challenge, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
The latter also suggested that Van de Beek is unlikely to leave the club this summer, with Nemanja Matic said to be the one in danger of being shipped out in order to make room for new arrivals.
“I would say keep an eye on Matic’s situation,” Romano told The United Stand on YouTube on Monday afternoon.
“Because if they want to sign a new midfielder, I think Matic could be one of the players to leave the club.
“For Van de Beek it’s still quiet, and I’m told the player is training so well and is working so hard to show his skills at United.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Van de Beek will feature for the Red Devils in their season opener against Leeds United next month.
He established himself as one of Europe’s most coveted playmakers during his time with Ajax and was hugely influential in leading the Dutch heavyweights to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas recently urged Van de Beek to recapture his form of old in order to underline his ability to succeed in the Premier League.
The 38-year-old suggested to BBC Sport that United’s misfiring star has been devoid of confidence for some time, but stressed that such a response is only natural when faced with the situation he currently finds himself in.
“I honestly don’t think it’s his fault,” said Jenas. “He’s out there being professional, doing everything he possibly can.
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“But when you don’t have that run of games in your system or belief that you can go out there and afford to make mistakes, you don’t show the full version of who you are, and that creative streak which got him to the football club in the first place.
“It still feels like everything is taking a bit too long. You have to be careful not to try and think Van de Beek can do what Bruno Fernandes can do. He’s his own type of player.
“I think Van de Beek is still working out of what he is for Manchester United. I’d still like him to want the ball a bit more.
“Maybe have a shot instead of passing it back or passing it sideways. This United [side] do not look for him, which is a bit of an issue.”