Manchester United's FA Cup win over West Ham wasn't the easiest watch for the neutral, but the average armchair fan likely had a better time than Donny van de Beek.

The Netherlands midfielder was granted the chance to impress in the number 10 role in just his 12th start for the Red Devils. With Bruno Fernandes resting on the bench and Paul Pogba out injured, this was Van de Beek's latest opportunity to show his creative mettle.

After 73 lacklustre minutes, he headed ruefully back to the bench. He had completed 28 passes and touched the ball 46 times, the lowest numbers of any starting outfield player for United. Fernandes, on as his replacement, surpassed both those figures in normal and extra time, with fellow sub Scott McTominay scoring the winning goal.

This was the latest unspectacular outing for a player who caught the eye of the world's biggest clubs at Ajax. An initial fee of £34.7million that looked a bargain at first is beginning to seem a bit of a waste as a player so in tune with that wonderful Ajax harmony looks increasingly disconnected in a United shirt.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has certainly not given up on Van de Beek just 25 games into his United career and has repeatedly called for patience as he beds the 23-year-old into his plans. But as Europa League football returns and fixtures pile up again, and with Pogba sidelined at least for a few weeks, Van de Beek is under mounting pressure to prove his worth.

 

BEEN THERE, DON THAT

During his final three seasons in the Netherlands, in which time he had established himself as first choice at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Van de Beek registered 39 goals and 29 assists in 132 games in all competitions. No Eredivisie midfielder scored more in that time, and only former team-mate Hakim Ziyech had more assists (54).

Ziyech is an interesting comparison. From 2017-18 to 2019-20, the playmaker, now with Chelsea, was consistently the only Eredivisie midfielder with superior attacking numbers to Van de Beek. They were top two in that time for chances created from open play (275 for Ziyech, 192 for Van de Beek); top two for shots (543 and 242); and top two for efforts on target (180 and 101).

Van de Beek was also third for passes ending in the final third on 1,938, while only two midfielders (Ziyech and AZ's Fredrik Midtsjo) started more sequences to end in a shot, underlining his importance when it came to synchronising the Ajax attack. The fact he did all this from a deeper starting position than Ziyech is notable: the majority of his touches came in the left-centre of the pitch, an area that served as a springboard for forays forward that yielded 28 chance-creating carries in the Eredivisie alone.

 

ILL-FITTING

There is a notion that Van de Beek was an opportunistic signing by Solskjaer, who had no guarantees over Pogba's future or the chances of bringing in top target Jadon Sancho.

You can understand his desire to cover that base. Over those same three seasons (2017-18 to 2019-20), Pogba was the United midfielder with the most touches (7,909), the most goals (23), most assists (26), most chances created from open play (163), most passes ending in the final third (2,358) and most shots (180). And, like Van de Beek, Pogba mostly thrived to the centre-left of midfield in that time – nearly 20 per cent of his total touches all came in that general area of the pitch.

Yet a key difference lies in their possession play: during that same time frame, Pogba averaged roughly 20 more completed passes and 32 more touches in each game than Van de Beek, who was happier to let others have the ball as he took up threatening positions. Once it became clear he was spending another season at United, this gave Pogba a distinct advantage in Solskjaer's system.

The arrival of Bruno Fernandes last January more or less prompted the United boss to give up on a 4-3-3 and use a predominant 4-2-3-1, in which the attacking players are afforded relative free reign to produce match-winning moments in front of a stable base. This has often meant Pogba dropping deeper into a position that, while not his favourite, is one in which those ball-playing numbers make him a distinctly valuable asset, just as they did in France's World Cup win three years ago. Van de Beek has proven less adaptable.

 

MAKE OR BEEK

Solskjaer tends to have two versions of deep central midfielders. Playmakers like Pogba and Nemanja Matic are generally used in matches where more penetrative passing is needed to unlock low blocks who are happy to give up the ball. When facing stronger, more possession-hungry sides, the United manager has found comfort – and success – in a double pivot of Fred and McTominay, who bring far greater dynamism without the ball.

Van de Beek has, so far, failed to convince as either.

Among United midfielders to play more than three games this season, Van de Beek has produced just one goal and one assist, with only Fred and Matic yet to have a direct goal involvement. Per 90 minutes, he averages roughly three passes into the final third and just 0.3 shots, comfortably the lowest, while only substitute winger Dan James averages fewer touches (60.95).

He appears little better suited to the disruptive role, either. Per 90 minutes this season, Van de Beek averages less than one tackle, half the number of interceptions as McTominay and fewer successful duels than any midfield team-mates except James and Juan Mata. Pogba is top of that particular chart with eight.

Right now, Van de Beek appears suited neither to the recycling service of United's deep midfield nor to the attacking quartet where spontaneity is king. He must adapt soon if his Old Trafford career is going to take off.

Manchester United eventually saw off West Ham 1-0 after extra-time to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, substitute Scott McTominay getting the winner at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the opportunity to give a few United fringe players opportunities to impress but ultimately had to turn to his regulars on the bench, with McTominay the one to make the difference.

United were frustrated in the first half as they struggled to make the most of their dominance over a West Ham side who offered very little in attack, with Victor Lindelof going closest for the hosts when denied by the upright.

Aside from United managing fewer shots, the pattern of the match hardly deviated after the break and it was no surprise to see it remain goalless at the end of the regulation 90 minutes.

But the hosts' superiority told in the end with West Ham unable to cancel out McTominay's 97th-minute strike.

It quickly became apparent that West Ham's plan was to pack their defence with as many players as possible and it was nearly undone just 11 minutes in, but Anthony Martial was denied by a crucial Angelo Ogbonna intervention that resulted in the Italian sustaining an injury.

But United's best chance fell to Lindelof in the 27th minute, his header from an Alex Telles corner taking a slight deflection before Lukasz Fabianski tipped it on to the post.

West Ham lost Ogbonna's replacement Issa Diop – who had clashed heads with Martial – at half-time as the recently introduced concussion substitution was used for the first time in English football, and they soon saw Andriy Yarmolenko forced off as well, former Manchester United trainee Ademipo Odubeko replacing him.

United wasted another chance a minute before Yarmolenko's exit, as Fabianski rushed out to thwart Marcus Rashford after Mason Greenwood's low cross was deflected through.

Extra-time was inevitable despite the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani coming on, but a penalty shootout was not necessary, with McTominay running on to Rashford's smart lay-off and rifling a low volley into the bottom-right corner.

Bruno Fernandes can fully understand Donny van de Beek's unhappiness and says his midfield team-mate's lack of playing time highlights Manchester United's strength in depth.

Netherlands international Van de Beek was handed his 10th start of the season in United's FA Cup fourth-round win over Liverpool on Sunday.

He struggled to make much of an impact at Old Trafford, however, as he touched the ball just 23 times and attempted 18 passes before being substituted with 66 minutes played.

Fernandes was brought on for the Dutchman and once again proved the difference for United by scoring a free-kick 12 minutes later to earn a 3-2 victory.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted on the eve of the game that Van de Beek is not happy with his lack of minutes and Fernandes has sympathy for the £40million close-season signing.

"Donny had a great game," he told MUTV. "Playing in the position I play, watching him he moves really good and played really well. 

"It's important for us. If I was in the position of Donny I would not be happy at all but the most important is doing what he does today, coming in and helping the team.

"We have a really good squad and we have options. If you look at the bench and the first XI today and the ones at home we have a really good squad.

"It will not be a problem if we change the team or someone is tired because we have really good players."

Fernandes has now scored 28 goals for United in all competitions since his debut in February 2020, which is more than any other player for a Premier League club.

His latest strike sets up a home tie with West Ham in the fifth round next month and, with United also top of the Premier League, Fernandes has his sights set on silverware.

"They're all important competitions for us," he said. "We have to go in the same way whatever the competition.

"We play in them all to win. Everyone knows winning the league is more special but for us players, it's about winning trophies regardless and this is a trophy we want to win."

United have now eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup proper on 10 occasions - only the Reds themselves have knocked out a single team more often, beating local rivals Everton 12 times.

On a day when Donny van de Beek hoped to show why he deserves more minutes for Manchester United, up stepped Bruno Fernandes to show why that simply isn't happening.

The eye-catching selection of Van de Beek ahead of Fernandes for this FA Cup clash of giants at Old Trafford was all about "rotation", according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United's manager clearly felt his team could combat a faltering Liverpool team without their star man, albeit leaving him on the bench in case of emergency.

"Donny needs to be playing games as well and it's a big game for Donny to come into," Solskjaer told the BBC.

Van de Beek has not started a Premier League game since he was hauled off with United trailing at half-time at West Ham in early December, and he might not be starting any soon either given how this game transpired.

A 66th-minute switch of the Portuguese for the underwhelming Van de Beek proved pivotal, and the delightful free-kick from Fernandes that settled an absorbing game 3-2 in United's favour was one that had been conceived on Saturday.

"I think he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free-kicks, so I was quite confident that he was going to hit the target," Solskjaer said.

Solskjaer, the erstwhile supersub, knew the calibre of replacement that was up his sleeve, and the rotation worked in a roundabout way. Are we looking at more proof that United's once-maligned Norwegian boss is actually a tactical master?

Liverpool's season, meanwhile, takes another negative turn.

Donny fluffs his big chance

With a mere 18 passes and 23 touches, Van de Beek was peripheral in a midfield where Paul Pogba shone and Scott McTominay fought for every ball.

The former Ajax man had a glorious early chance to stamp his mark on the game when he burst into space on the right and looked sure to dart towards the penalty area, as Edinson Cavani waited for a pass in the centre.

But no. Van de Beek paused and decided to go backwards, and the chance was gone.

This game was a world away from the Anfield snore draw seven days previously in the Premier League, yet Van de Beek largely let it pass him by.

By the time Fernandes cracked his sublime winner into the right corner, Van de Beek must have been wondering when such an opportunity will arise again.

Salah shows he must start

Like Fernandes, Salah has seen his form and contribution questioned in recent weeks, and just as United's match-winner dispelled such criticism, so did Liverpool's main man.

After all the talk about front threes, and which of these sides had the most deadly attacking trio, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp went with a two-man strikeforce, Salah and Roberto Firmino linking up and Sadio Mane on the bench.

Both Salah and Firmino had been substitutes on Thursday for the defeat to Burnley, but they were a combination that United struggled to contain at times here.

Salah struck twice, the first a sublime chip, and Firmino set up both. The Brazilian has now assisted Salah for 18 goals during their time together at Liverpool, the most any player has set up another during Klopp's reign.

Unlike Firmino and Mane, Salah has exceeded his expected goals (xG) in the Premier League this season, with eight non-penalty goals from an xG of 5.3, and if Liverpool are to resurrect their season, the bench is surely no place for the Egyptian.

Glorious Greenwood

Mason Greenwood has not scored in the Premier League since that West Ham game, when he helped United turn their half-time deficit around and earn a 3-1 victory.

Here he looked lively from the early stages, albeit with one too many lollipops and insufficient tasty final product until he cancelled out Salah's opener.

The way the 19-year-old ended an 10-game barren spell spoke volumes of his belief, with Marcus Rashford's sweeping pass over the Liverpool defence finding his wing twin on the right and allowing Greenwood to thump a low shot past Alisson.

With Rashford also on target, this was quite a day to savour for the hosts.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Bruno Fernandes out of his starting line-up for Sunday's FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

Fernandes, who has been United's shining light since arriving from Sporting CP almost 12 months ago, was only a substitute for the fourth-round game.

This season he has scored 15 goals and supplied nine assists in 28 games across all competitions from his advanced midfield role, but there have been questions asked about his form in recent weeks.

He has just one goal and no assists in four Premier League appearances since the turn of the year.

Into the United team went former Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as Solskjaer decided the game presented a chance to rotate his squad, making five changes to the side that won 2-1 at Fulham on Wednesday.

Solskjaer explained why Fernandes did not start, saying on BBC One: "It's rotation in the squad.

"Donny needs to be playing games as well and it's a big game for Donny to come into.

"He's done nothing wrong when he's been around the club so I'm looking forward to seeing him in there."

Premier League leaders United also brought in goalkeeper Dean Henderson, centre-back Victor Lindelof, midfielder Scott McTominay and forward Marcus Rashford, as David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Fred and Anthony Martial dropped out.

Liverpool also showed five changes as Jurgen Klopp looked for a response to Thursday's shock 1-0 home defeat to Burnley, which ended a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield in the Premier League.

Teenage centre-back Rhys Williams came in for the absent Joel Matip, while James Milner and Curtis Jones were selected as Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropped to the bench.

Sadio Mane and Divock Origi were also substitutes as Klopp gave starts to Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, with the Old Trafford clash coming a week on from these two sides battling out a dreary goalless draw at Anfield in the league.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he can fully relate to Donny van de Beek's unhappiness after being used sparingly during his time at Old Trafford.

The Netherlands midfielder has made nine starts for United since arriving from Ajax for a reported £40million in the close season, just two of those coming in the Premier League.

He has not featured at all in United's last three games since the 1-0 FA Cup win over Watford on January 9, but he will play a part in Sunday's fourth-round tie against Liverpool.

Solskjaer himself found regular starts hard to come by during his playing days at the club under Alex Ferguson and has praised Van de Beek for remaining professional.

"I wouldn't say that Donny is happy," he said. "Of course, he wants to play more, but he gets about his job in the right manner.

"He reminds me a lot about myself, when I first came in, that he understands my difficulties and challenges

"We are doing well and have got players who are playing really well in his position.

"I was the same with Sir Alex. When he left me out I understood and I was happy for the team to win – and Donny is that type of guy."

Van de Beek has made 10 Premier League appearances for United in total and scored his only goal in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in September.

The 23-year-old has yet to assist a goal and has created just two big chances for his team-mates across those 10 matches.

His average of 50.2 passes per 90 minutes ranks below fellow midfielder Bruno Fernandes (60.17), Paul Pogba (62.02), Fred (62.85) and Nemanja Matic (76.08) but above Scott McTominay (48.37).

Van de Beek ranks higher for dribbles completed (1.43), however, with Pogba (1.75) the only midfielder above him in that metric.

Solskjaer continued: "He knows he is important for us and knows he is going to play many games.

"He will definitely be involved in this game against Liverpool and he might be the deciding factor in the game.

"He trusts his own quality. He is a quietly confident guy who deep down knows he is good enough and is just waiting for his opportunity."

Having been used in a variety of roles in United's midfield, Van de Beek – utilised as a box-to-box threat during his Ajax days – scored 28 goals in total in the Eredivisie. 

Arguably his most impressive form for Ajax came in the 2018-19 Champions League campaign, with his four goals helping the Dutch giants to the semi-finals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has underlined his desire to keep Donny van de Beek at Manchester United despite a difficult start to his Old Trafford career.

Since arriving from Ajax in a reported £40million deal in pre-season, the Dutchman has made just eight starts in total, with only two of those coming in the Premier League.

That lack of action prompted Van de Beek's boss at international level, Frank de Boer, to suggest this week that the midfielder might need to move on in January in order to strengthen his chances of featuring in the Netherlands' European Championship squad.

However, Solskjaer has reiterated his faith in the 23-year-old and revealed he will be handed a rare opportunity to start when United face Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"I've answered this question so many times," the Norwegian said.

"There are so many examples of players needing a little bit of time – quality players. We have many players ourselves and there are other clubs with examples. Sometimes it takes time. You don't expect people who care for him to be quiet at times, especially when they want the best for them.

"Donny is going to play tomorrow. There's another chance for him. Yes, I've spoken to him and reiterated and made him aware how much we rate him. But he'll play tomorrow, and that's a good chance to kick on."

One player who could be set for a January departure from Old Trafford is Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

The 23-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has made just three appearances this term, including one start.

And Solskjaer is open to the idea of allowing him to move on should the right offer arrive.

"I'm not sure if Tim is going to stay or [if] he's going to take an option now," he said.

"He's not played enough, so of course he's been allowed to speak to clubs, with a view to leaving now in January. It's difficult when you've got good players, talented players, and you can't give them game time.

"He's now at the stage where he needs to go and play again.

"It might be [at the] end of January, or it might be in the summer that he finds somewhere else. So, he's working hard, Tim, he's ready for a move for any club that he feels ready for."

What does the future hold for Phil Foden?

Foden is highly rated at Manchester City, but he is struggling for regular game time.

Could Real Madrid prise the Englishman to the Santiago Bernabeu?

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS EYE FODEN

LaLiga champions Real Madrid are ready to pounce for Manchester City's Phil Foden, according to the Mirror.

City sensation Foden has been struggling for regular game time under manager Pep Guardiola, starting just five of his 10 Premier League appearances this season.

Madrid have emerged as serious suitors for the 20-year-old sensation and there is a growing belief that he could be prised to the Spanish capital.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Julian Brandt, reports The Athletic. Out of favour at Dortmund this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reportedly keen to reinforce his struggling side in January.

Manchester United could send Donny van de Beek to Inter on loan as they look to bring in Christian Eriksen from the Serie A side, claims Calciomercato. Eriksen is set to leave Inter in January and the Danish midfielder has been linked to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain.

- As question marks grow over Samir Handanovic, Calciomercato says Inter are considering Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso as a successor to the long-serving Nerazzurri star.

Madrid are confident of re-signing veteran star Luka Modric, according to Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Madrid still try to negotiate a new contract with captain and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Ramos, who has been linked to the likes of Juventus, PSG, United and City. Modric has previously been a target for Inter and Milan.

Luka Jovic would not be against a return to Eintracht Frankfurt but the out-of-favour Madrid forward is eyeing Milan, reports Calciomercato.

Dean Henderson will make his first Premier League start for Manchester United in Saturday's match at West Ham.

Henderson replaced David de Gea at half-time during last weekend's 3-2 win at Southampton and, although the De Gea was fit to play in the midweek Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, the Spain international is not in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's matchday 18 at London Stadium.

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes drop to the bench, while Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek will combine in a midfield anchored by Scott McTominay.

Edinson Cavani leads the United attack, flanked by Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, although there is no place in the squad for Fred after the midfielder's red card versus PSG.

For West Ham, Sebastien Haller replaces Michail Antonio (hamstring) in the only change from Monday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

If rumours are to be believed, Hakan Calhanoglu is tipped to swap Milan for Manchester United at the end of the season.

Calhanoglu is out of contract in June and the midfielder's negotiations with Milan over a new deal at San Siro have so far proven fruitless.

Up step United, who according to Sport Bild, are "90 per cent likely" to sign the 26-year-old Turkey international – Serie A champions Juventus and Inter have also been linked.

Calhanoglu has been rejuvenated under head coach Stefano Pioli as Milan enjoy an unbeaten start to the Serie A season, but how does he compare to stars Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and United's current crop of midfielders?

For example, Calhanoglu completed 668 passes ending in the final third last season – more than Fred (476), Fernandes (408), Nemanja Matic (354), Pogba (343), Scott McTominay (273) and Juan Mata (246).

Calhanoglu – who has called Milan home since leaving Bayer Leverkusen in 2017 – created 70 chances in 2019-20 to go with nine goals and as many assists. By comparison, Fred led United with 35.

With help from Opta, we look at the numbers of Calhanoglu and potential new team-mates in their respective leagues in 2020-21.

 

Hakan Calhanoglu

Games: 9
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 31.25
Shots on target: 5
Assists: 1
Goal assist at set play: 1
Chances created: 34
Passing accuracy: 85.79
Crosses/corner accuracy: 35.21
Passes ending in final third: 168
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 77.38

Bruno Fernandes

Games: 9
Goals: 7
Shooting accuracy: 66.67
Shots on target: 14
Assists: 3
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 27
Passing accuracy: 75.74
Crosses/corner accuracy: 31.48
Passes ending in final third: 264
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 68.94

Paul Pogba

Games: 7
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 66.67
Shots on target: 2
Assists: 0
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 2
Passing accuracy: 79.92
Crosses/corner accuracy: 0
Passes ending in final third: 97
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 72.16

Fred

Games: 8
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 0
Shots on target: 0
Assists: 0
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 6
Passing accuracy: 89.24
Crosses/corner accuracy: 0
Passes ending in final third: 98
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 80.61

Scott McTominay

Games: 7
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 0
Shots on target: 0
Assists: 0
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 8
Passing accuracy: 86.87
Crosses/corner accuracy: 25
Passes ending in final third: 66
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 72.73

Donny van de Beek

Games: 7
Goals: 1
Shooting accuracy: 100
Shots on target: 1
Assists: 0
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 1
Passing accuracy: 83.78
Crosses/corner accuracy: N/A
Passes ending in final third: 49
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 71.43

Nemanja Matic

Games: 6
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 100
Shots on target: 2
Assists: 0
Goal assist at set play: 0
Chances created: 3
Passing accuracy: 87.58
Crosses/corner accuracy: N/A
Passes ending in final third: 73
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 78.08

Juan Mata

Games: 4
Goals: 0
Shooting accuracy: 100
Shots on target: 2
Assists: 1
Goal assist at set play: 1
Chances created: 7
Passing accuracy: 87.5
Crosses/corner accuracy: 36.36
Passes ending in final third: 72
Passing accuracy ending in final third: 86.11 

Mason Greenwood has been included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United XI for the clash with Southampton - along with Donny van de Beek. 

Greenwood has not started for United since the 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal on November 1, though the teenager did come on as a substitute in the 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday. 

However, Solskjaer has handed the forward – who has scored just twice in all competitions this term – his fourth Premier League start of the campaign, as he partners Marcus Rashford up front at St Mary's. 

In midfield, Van de Beek gets his first league start since joining from Ajax with both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay out injured, Solskjaer having stated in his pre-match news conference that the pair were doubtful for the clash with Ralph Hasenhuttl's in-form team. 

Anthony Martial is another absentee too, with Solskjaer confirming the France international had fallen ill overnight. 

Nemanja Matic, Fred and Bruno Fernandes – who Solskjaer has compared to Cristiano Ronaldo – were named alongside Van de Beek in a midfield diamond. 

Since his debut in the competition, Fernandes has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other player (24 – 14 goals, 10 assists), while no player has netted the winner in more different top-flight games than the Portuguese playmaker this season. 

Theo Walcott was rumoured to be a doubt for the hosts but the 31-year-old was passed fit to start alongside Che Adams in Danny Ings' continued absence through injury. 

Walcott has scored three Premier League goals against United, with all of these coming at different grounds – Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium and Goodison Park.  

Only Les Ferdinand (five), Nicolas Anelka (four) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (four) have scored a Premier League goal against the Red Devils at a greater number of venues.

Clarence Seedorf does not believe Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek should not be written off yet as they struggle to make impacts at Inter and Manchester United respectively. 

Like Seedorf, both players came through the heralded Ajax academy before making switches to the Premier League. 

Eriksen enjoyed six-and-a-half successful years at Tottenham before joining Inter in January, while Van de Beek signed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. 

Having found himself on the periphery of the team during his latter days at Spurs, Denmark international Eriksen was lacking momentum upon joining Inter and made only eight Serie A starts before the end of the 2019-20 season.

It has not gone much better for him this term, the 28-year-old making just three starts and failing to score or assist for Antonio Conte's side. 

His days appear to be numbered at San Siro, with Conte stating Eriksen has had enough chances to impress and the club's CEO Giuseppe Marotta saying he will not keep players who want to be sold.

Seedorf, though, believes Eriksen's quality will ultimately shine through if the club is patient with him.

"Eriksen has been a well established, top player for years," the former Inter, Real Madrid and Milan star told Stats Perform News. "He may go through a moment where he's not having the same performance we're used to but he should not leave. He will be playing sooner or later. 

"Adapting to a new country and club is not easy. There are many examples of top players that go from one club to another and couldn't find themselves. We need to give him some time for the club to embrace him fully."

Van de Beek, meanwhile, has struggled for game time since arriving at Old Trafford in a £40million move from Ajax.

The Netherlands international has yet to start a Premier League game, making six appearances from the substitutes' bench, although he impressed in United's 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday.

Van de Beek made two key passes, completed 33 passes in the opposition half – second only to Fred – and boasted an 87.5 per cent passing accuracy in that game. 

Seedorf is not concerned about Van de Beek's situation, however, and believes United have bought him for the long term. 

"He just arrived and needs to go through the same process and struggle [as Eriksen] to adapt to all the things on and off the pitch," he added. 

"I'm sure with his character he will find his way through. I don't think Manchester United bought him for immediate success. They have always brought in younger players to make sure in two or three years they will be one of the main players. 

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I wish him all the best, obviously."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are "very unlikely" to be fit for Manchester United's Premier League trip to Southampton on Sunday.

Pogba has been sidelined by an ankle injury, which the United boss revealed is not related to the issue that he struggled with last season.

McTominay also missed a 4-1 midweek Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir with an unspecified injury.

Solskjaer does not expect the midfield duo to be involved when the Red Devils go in search of a fourth consecutive win at the expense of the high-flying Saints.

There was better news of Marcus Rashford, Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who were withdrawn in the victory over Basaksehir, but trained on Friday.

"Scott and Paul didn't train this morning," Solskjaer said on Friday. "They weren't on the grass, so look very unlikely for the weekend.

"Marcus, Victor, Aaron came through the session today, so hopefully they should be okay but still not 100 per cent."

Jesse Lingard is back in contention, having finished a period of self-isolation after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus, but Luke Shaw (hamstring) is not ready to return.

Donny van de Beek and and Edinson Cavani caught the eye after being given the chance to start against the Turkish champions and Solskjaer suggested they will get another opportunity at St Mary's Stadium.

"Luke has just started his rehab, out on the grass, not out with the team yet. Jesse's back from his isolation period, so he had a couple of days training with the group. Apart from that, Phil Jones is out until after Christmas sometime," Solskjaer said.

"We played on Tuesday then don't have a game until Sunday, so it's been a long period for us, we managed to give the boys a day off during this difficult time. [Van de Beek and Cavani] will both be available to play and I'm sure if they do they'll be capable again."

Is Donny van de Beek already heading for an Old Trafford exit?

Van de Beek made the move from Ajax to Manchester United at the start of the season.

But he is reportedly wanted by Juventus in Italy.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DE BEEK WANTED IN TURIN

Juventus are plotting a move for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to Calciomercato.

Van de Beek only swapped Eredivisie powerhouse Ajax for United at the start of the season, but he has struggled to cement a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's XI.

Serie A champions are reportedly trying to reunite Van de Beek with former Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- Corriere dello Sport report Liverpool have submitted a bid for Ajax centre-back Perr Schuurs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are injured at Anfield.

Chelsea are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez ahead of a 2021 transfer, says the Here We Go Podcast.

- TodoFichajes claims Marseille star Florian Thauvin has agreed to join Milan on a free transfer.

United have joined Premier League champions Liverpool in the race for Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, according to La Razon. The 21-year-old has also impressed Chelsea.

- Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu wants to join United, reports Bild journalist Christian Falk. The Turkey international is out of contract at the end of the season. Juve, Atletico and Inter have all been linked.

- Football Insider says Arsenal are interested in signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai on loan in January and loaning him back to the Austrian champions.

Donny van de Beek believes his deployment in a deeper role worked well as Manchester United thrashed Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

United won 4-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with Bruno Fernandes' early double added to by strikes from Marcus Rashford and substitute Daniel James.

With the superb Fernandes causing havoc in the number 10 role, Van de Beek played as a holding midfielder alongside Fred.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's use of the Netherlands international has been a subject of intense debate given he is yet to start a Premier League game but the 23-year-old has played in all four continental matches, starting three.

Van de Beek had two key passes, completed 33 passes in the opposition half – second only to Fred – and boasted an 87.5 per cent passing accuracy against Basaksehir.

While he enjoys playing in a more advanced position, Van de Beek also feels comfortable in a deeper role and believes the system was a good one.

"It worked really well," Van de Beek, a £40million signing from Ajax, said to MUTV.

"Some games I play number 10 and sometimes the coach needs me in the control position.

"That is fine for me because before, when I played at Ajax, I was playing in those positions, so it is okay.

"It was a good reaction from the away game. To win 4-1 at home I think you can be happy. The first half was really good especially the first 30 minutes and we played nice football and scored nice goals.

"In the second half we lost too many balls and gave them some chances but the last five minutes we controlled the game again."

A third straight win in all competitions for United avenged their defeat in Turkey earlier this month and put them three points clear at the top of Group H.

They have now won their last seven home games in European competition by an aggregate score of 24-2.

"It is not finished but we are in a good position," added Van de Beek, with United sitting ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.

"We need to keep working and everything will be fine. We now have eyes on the weekend [against Southampton]."

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