Donny van de Beek would not include Cristiano Ronaldo in his ideal five-a-side team for Manchester United in training, but does think the new arrival will raise the standards at the club.
Van de Beek was speaking in an extensive chat with former United defender Rio Ferdinand on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel. Within the conversation, the Dutch midfielder denied he had ever been close to an exit this summer. He also insisted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had promised him he will have a role to play.
But there were also some lighter matters to discuss, such as who would make up his dream five-a-side team in training.
When naming his choices, van de Beek caught Ferdinand by surprise with a couple of notable omissions and intriguing picks.
“You have to pick Bruno [Fernandes] because he scores a lot of goals and a lot of assists. I would go for Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic.”
The fact that van de Beek opted to overlook superstar forwards such as Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, though, was not what Ferdinand was expecting.
The ex-defender replied: “This is your 5-a-side team? Your 5-a-side team to win?
“Okay, wow. That’s surprising that you didn’t pick Ronaldo, Sancho, [Edinson] Cavani, [Marcus] Rashford… You made a tactical decision, it’s fine, don’t worry!”
Van de Beek insisted: “I think this team would win. We have so many players, I have to make a tactical decision – the best players don’t always win, the team wins.”
Van de Beek rates Ronaldo transfer
Even so, the former Ajax star revealed his enthusiasm for the arrival of such a high-profile figure as Ronaldo.
His agent recently said the Portugal legend’s return would be bad news for van de Beek, but the player himself sees the situation otherwise.
The 24-year-old said: “It’s fantastic. To be with these players on the pitch is fantastic, also to train with them, everything.
“I think that’s what we need, winners. I’m really positive about us this season. I think we can make big steps now.
“Of course, the level goes up for sure. You see that [in training].
“If good players come to the team, the level goes up. It’s strange because you train with maybe 24 players, but any one of those good players, they can make a difference.”
Indeed, van de Beek said Ronaldo was not the only difference maker United are adding to their squad, even though he is a standout addition.
He added: “They are all different players, but for me, of course, Cristiano. Everybody knows him.
“Jadon is a fantastic player, also, and Varane is really, really good, he has a lot of experience and I really like his style. They are all fantastic, but they are different.”