Rio Ferdinand questions what Manchester United told Donny van de Beek when convincing him to join, and thinks the midfielder may need to change his role.
Van de Beek was a major summer investment for United, as they forked out £35m to sign him from Ajax.
However, the Dutchman has not made the impression expected of him. So far, he has been limited to just two Premier League starts.
The reason for Van de Beek’s lack of gametime can be attributed to the form of Bruno Fernandes. Since they are fighting for the same position, it’s been hard for the summer recruit to dislodge the Portugal international.
But former United defender Ferdinand thinks Van de Beek still has something to offer – even if he wonders why they signed him in the first place.
“I think he would add value to this team, definitely,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five.
“He’s someone who would create goals; he played a part in the goal [vs Leicester]. When he gets in the box, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.
“But to get in the box, he’s got to play in the position where Bruno Fernandes is playing and he’s not going to do that.
“Can he do it from No. 8 position or No. 6 when he’s holding? I think he can. He’s intelligent enough.
“Ajax players are brought up to be intelligent footballers; they are able to play multiple positions, he can do that.
“It’s just obviously United want a stiffer central midfield area behind Bruno. I get that, given that’s got to be protecting the centre-backs and that’s not going to be one of Van de Beek’s strengths.
“But then it begs the question: why buy him then?”
Van de Beek gets sympathy from Ferdinand
The ex-England international shared his sympathy for the 23-year-old by admitting that anyone would struggle with the lack of gametime he has had.
Ferdinand theorises that Van de Beek wouldn’t have joined the club if he had known what his situation would be.
“This isn’t what he was sold,” Ferdinand added. “I feel for him in that.
“Has he done enough when he’s been given an opportunity? I think it’s been difficult.
“I don’t care who you are. If you’re playing the odd two minutes here and there, three minutes here and there, you cannot perform, I don’t care what level of player you are.
“I don’t think he’s been helped in terms of team selection and opportunities. So I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s underperforming, because he’s not been put in a position to perform yet on a consistent basis.
“I really do feel for him, but it would be interesting to hear what he was sold and told on the way in because the lack of opportunities, I don’t think he’d have come here if he’d known that.”