Ole Gunnar Solskjaer understood Donny van de Beek’s frustrations after the Manchester United midfielder was left stranded on the bench during Wednesday’s dramatic Champions League win over Villarreal.
The Netherlands international has been restricted to a bit-part role ever since his £35million move from Ajax 12 months ago and has struggled to force his way into Solskjaer’s first XI.
Van de Beek was praised by his manager for his efforts to bulk up over the close season in a bid to prepare himself for the rigours of English football, but the 24-year-old has made only three appearances this term and is yet to start in the Premier League.
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With the game against the Spanish side in midweek locked at 1-1, Van de Beek appeared poised to enter the fray as a late substitute but a late change of heart from his manager culminated in the player throwing his bib to the floor and spitting out his chewing gum.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Everton, Solskjaer maintained he had no issue with Van de Beek’s apparent act of defiance and will only take stronger action if he, or the attitude of any other player, is having a negative impact.
He said: ‘You know, I manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers who want to make a difference, who want to play. They all want to be on the pitch, of course they do.
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‘Donny was ready to come on, as all players should be. I’ve been a sub more than anyone in this club probably – I must have a record appearance as a sub – and you have to be ready all the time. I’ve been not very happy a few times but that is the decision the manager makes.
‘Alex was coming off as a left-back and Fred did that job well. So I understand the frustration, of course, every player is keen to play, that’s got to be built into energy and determination for when you get on and show me.
‘It’s not just Donny, it’s players, I’ve got a squad of internationals and if we’re going to be successful we need positive energy, no sulkers.
‘Donny has never affected his teammates negatively. As soon as I see players affecting the team negatively then that’s a different scenario and I’ll probably be firmer.’
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