Erik ten Hag has told Donny van de Beek he should either quit Manchester United for good or stay and fight for his place, rather than looking to leave on loan.
Van de Beek spent the second half of last season on loan away from Manchester United after failing to make an impact in his first couple of seasons with the club.
Everton took the midfielder for six months, but he couldn’t make a positive contribution there either. Hence, he returned to Man Utd.
There was a feeling the appointment of his former Ajax boss Ten Hag might open up a second chance for him in Manchester. Sadly, that has not quite been the case.
Van de Beek is still struggling for starts – he has only made one in the Premier League this season – and to produce the necessary output when he is on the pitch. It might be time for Man Utd to think about offloading him again.
There have been suggestions of a move to Leicester, for example.
Despite being under contract until 2025, Van de Beek has now been told by Ten Hag that he shouldn’t be asking for another loan exit – but a permanent one if he isn’t going to raise his game.
Ten Hag told reporters: “I don’t think the loan makes sense. It’s either he fights and proves himself in this environment or he goes, but for me, there is still a way for him.
“But it’s not going to be easy for him because the competition there is really strong.”
Ten Hag addresses Donny van de Beek concern
Asked if the Dutchman simply doesn’t suit the Premier League, he added: “I see the opinion but when I watch back the performance in Sociedad and also Villa, he is there in the positions I expect a 10 has to do. And nowadays, it is difficult for a 10 to really show themselves.
“We have the romantic idea of the No.10 as a playmaker giving the final passes, that they have to play in the middle of the park. But it is difficult there because nowadays all the good teams close the middle of the park, so it is really difficult to get a lot of ball touches.
“So that is also not the player who Donny van de Beek is but what he is doing well is his positioning and his movement together with the strikers, especially with the No.9, that combination, he is really good in positioning and anticipation in and out of possession, he did that to my satisfaction in the last games.
“But I have seen he is not on the scoring list, he is not on the assist list and he can do better. He is still not there on his limits, I have seen him better in the past, definitely. But I think positioning wise he is acting quite well.
“But he has to make that step with pace and intensity.”
Van de Beek has made 57 appearances for Man Utd during his time with the club overall. It remains to be seen how many more he will have to add.
At 25 years old, though, and having missed out on a place in the Netherlands squad for the World Cup, he will surely be keen to get his career back on track. Perhaps that will lead him elsewhere.