Man Utd v West Ham: Match in pictures
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Donny van de Beek failed to seize his latest opportunity for Manchester United last night as the Red Devils reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over West Ham in extra-time. The Dutchman was handed the chance to start ahead of Bruno Fernandes but was clearly lacking rhythm and struggled to shine in an attacking midfield role.
Van de Beek has been crying out for a chance to play in a more advanced midfield position since arriving from Ajax last summer but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to accommodate him in his side.
Another chance for the 23-year-old to make his mark at United went begging, posing further doubts over his long-term future at the club.
Pundit Jermaine Jenas was left confused by the player’s performance against the Hammers and claimed Van de Beek has to be bolder in his pursuit to win over Solskjaer.
“It’s a bit better from Donny van de Beek but it still feels like everything is taking a bit too long,” Jenas told the BBC.
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“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 do not look for him, which is a bit of an issue.”
Van de Beek was replaced by Fernandes in the 73rd minute, with Scott McTominay also entering the fray in place of Nemanja Matic.
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It didn’t take the midfield duo long to make an impact as they upped the ante before eventually driving United to victory in extra-time.
Jenas claimed as Van de Beek was subbed that the summer signing was playing with fear, as opposed to freedom.
“That look on his face there I’ve just seen sums up unfortunately the way he’s playing at the moment with a bit of fear and a lack of rhythm,” Jenas said as Solskjaer made the change.
“I honestly don’t think it’s his fault. He’s out there being professional, doing everything he possibly can.
“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.”
Solskjaer still believes Van de Beek will prove a success at United and compared the midfielder’s situation to himself during his early playing days at the club.
“I wouldn’t say that Donny is happy, of course he wants to play more, but he is driven and goes about his job in the right manner,” said Solskjaer.
“He reminds me of when I first came to United. He understands when you’ve got players doing really well in his position, it’s not like we can give him games for the sake of it.
“When Sir Alex left me out, I understood and was happy for the team to win. Donny is that type of guy. He knows he is important for us and is going to play many games.
“He will definitely be involved against Liverpool and might be the deciding factor. He is a quietly confident guy who deep down knows he is good enough and is just waiting for his opportunity.”
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