Donny van de Beek vows to ‘never change’ as he hunts for ‘role’ under Ten Hag at Man Utd

Donny van de Beek Manchester United July 2022

Donny van de Beek says he will “never change as a player” and has to find a role at Manchester United even though he thrived under Erik ten Hag at Ajax.

Van de Beek was a half-time substitute in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in Melbourne. The Dutch midfielder replaced Scott McTominay and duly obliged with a neat assist for Marcus Rashford.

Anthony Martial had opened the scoring, before Rashford and Jadon Sancho finished off superb team moves in the second half.

Van de Beek had a wry smile after the game at the MCG – a rare sight in his time at Old Trafford.

His chances have been few and far between and he was loaned to Everton in January. A thigh problem blighted his time at Goodison Park though and in truth his move two years ago from Ajax has proved a nightmare.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid £35m, plus £5m in add-ons, for Van de Beek, who has managed just four Premier League starts in his 50 Manchester United appearances.

Asked why he has struggled for form, Van de Beek said: “Good question.

“Of course you think a lot about football, but on the end you need to stay yourself and you never have to change as a player.

“So, yeah, it also depends on which manager is in the club, which kind of players does he like.

“I just do my best and I have to push every day. Of course everyone can improve and me as well, so I’m always looking how I can improve.

“I don’t think everything was bad (in my time in England). I think I also show a good few moments.

“But, just again, I will never change as a player. Of course you can improve things, but on the end, what I say, you never have to change and I will not do that.

“Every player has his own qualities, me as well so that’s it.”

Van de Beek ready to prove himself

Van de Beek, who has been touted for a transfer this summer, was asked he must have been happy to see his old Ajax boss Ten Hag follow him to United.

“Yeah, I don’t know. Of course they say that because I had him in Ajax,” he told the PA news agency.

“But, again, you know, in the end you have to play good for him from yourself and it doesn’t make any sense who is the coach. You need to find your role in the team.

“Of course he knows me as a player but, still, that says nothing, you know? I have to show it for myself.”

The style of play that Ten Hag will insist on this season has already been evident in United’s friendly games. And Van de Beek knows better than most about the intensity the new United boss will insist upon.

Asked what the manager is asking of the squad, he puffed out his cheeks and said: “So many things. But I think he likes the details as well and he asks a lot from you as a player.

“You have to be fit to play his style of football but I think we have the right players for that.

“We just have to keep going and repeat all the time and then we will improve I’m sure.

“I mean, in the pressure you could see already a bit different things than before but also in building up, a lot of variations.

“I think still we can improve a lot of things. But, yeah, it seems like positive and we just need to keep going and train good.”

Maguire admiration

Van de Beek was also quizzed about the bizarre booing of team-mate Harry Maguire.

The England star’s every touch was derided in the early stages Down Under, but Van de Beek was impressed by the way the skipper bounced back.

“I heard as well,” the Holland international added. “I didn’t know really what happened.

“But I think if I saw the game today I think Harry was playing really well.

“He was aggressive, he got so many balls, so that means he has a big personality.

“He has a lot of experience, so I think that’s positive what he (showed), his performance today.”

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