Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has commented on the form of summer signing Donny van de Beek after he earned a rare start against Liverpool in the 3-2 win in the FA Cup over the weekend.
The Netherlands international put in a decent performance after getting the nod from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the jury is still out on if he’s really done enough to earn a place in the starting XI on a regular basis.
Chadwick admits he thinks Van de Beek could struggle to get into the team due to their fine form right now, with both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba continuing to shine in that area of the pitch.
Fernandes came off the bench to score the winner against Liverpool, but Chadwick feels there’s plenty that Van de Beek could do well to look at from the Portuguese’s all-round game.
The 40-year-old questioned if the former Ajax man currently looks as good a fit for United’s tactics as Fernandes does, explaining that he could do with emulating that more direct style of play.
“I thought he (Van de Beek) was fine, he looked tidy on the ball but you can see that he’s not playing at full tilt or full confidence,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.
“I’m not sure he’s really found his feet in terms of United’s style of play – passing forward quickly. He’s an extremely technical player in that Ajax mould where they dominate possession in almost every game in the Dutch league. He’s more than happy to keep the ball ticking over, whereas when Bruno Fernandes plays you can see that bit more edge to it, always looking for the forward pass, looking to start attacks, break the lines and get in behind the opposition defence.
“I think there’s still a lot of work for Van de Beek to do to find his feet, but obviously to do that he needs to play.
“The team seems to be in the best place they’ve been all season in terms of results and performances, so it’s going to be a struggle for him to get into that Premier League team at the moment, particularly with the way Paul Pogba’s playing and with what Fernandes offers the team. Hopefully in the next round against West Ham we’ll see him play again, finding his feet and taking steps forward and making that mark we all know he’s capable of doing at the club.”
There were, however, some real positives to take from the win over Liverpool, with Chadwick highlighting the exciting partnership between Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, with the two academy graduates really blossoming against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“Two extremely exciting young players,” Chadwick said of the pair. “Obviously Rashford’s proven it over a few years now and Greenwood’s had a tricky start to this season but I’m sure the goal will do him the world of good.
“It was an incredible pass from Rashford for Greenwood’s goal. Even when he’s been off form, when he’s one-on-one with the ‘keeper I’m not sure there’s many better – you expect him to finish it off, even an awkward shot on the half-volley against a top goalkeeper, you expect to see the ball hit the back of the net.
“There’s nothing better than seeing these young strikers scoring goals for the club, there’s exciting times ahead for the pair of them, I’m sure of that.”