It’s difficult if you’re not really in the team: Van de Beek on Man Utd struggle

In a candid interview, Donny van de Beek discussed the mental challenges of being kept out of Manchester United’s first-team picture.

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In his debut season at Old Trafford, the Dutchman has only played in half of the club’s Premier League games, with the majority of his appearances coming as a substitute.

And van de Beek told Rio Ferdinand and Vibe with Five that not playing had harmed his confidence.

He said: ‘It’s difficult if you’re not really in the team, you’re waiting for your chance. That’s not easy, if you’re not playing. Also not for the confidence. It’s normal you need a bit of time to adapt but of course you are not happy. I want to play, that is clear. It’s so hard (to deal with mentally).

‘I train really hard every day, I try to improve and just wait for your chance, that’s the only thing I can do. If the moment is there, I have to be ready, it’s as simple as that. Be close with the players… be part of the team. If you’re not playing, try to help them and be positive. You can’t sit there and be angry, that’s not the key to come in.’

The central midfielder, 24, signed for the Red Devils for an initial £35million from Ajax in August 2020 but has failed to break into a prosaic midfield engine room, with Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic ahead of him in the pecking order.

And the 19-cap Netherlands international admitted he felt angry about his situation at times, but underlined the importance of staying positive and revealed boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told him he needed him this season.

He added: ‘Of course, sometimes you are angry, every player has that, but you’re not going to show them if you don’t train hard any more. Then you give a reason for the manager to play without you. Don’t show (a bad) attitude. The key is always being positive, you can improve every day. Being angry is not helping the team.

‘The manager was really positive about me and said “I need you, I want to keep you here”. He said, “I see a different Donny now”. I hope I can show people I have improved a lot now. I have to play more. You can train hard every day but you need game time. If you play once a month, you cannot show your best.’

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