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Donny van de Beek opens up on ‘tough’ Man United spell and explains Erik ten Hag difficulty



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Donny van de Beek has opened up on his ‘tough’ Manchester United career and has explained the difficulty faced at the club with Erik ten Hag.

Van de Beek, 26, moved to Old Trafford in the summer of 2020 from Ajax for a fee of around £40 million. He started just four Premier League games for the club before leaving on loan earlier this week.

The Dutch midfielder is now looking to reignite his career at Eintracht Frankfurt as he spends the rest of the season with the Bundesliga club.

When Erik ten Hag joined United from Ajax in 2022, many believed that Van de Beek would be afforded opportunities under his former coach.

However, the 53-year-old was unable to find a place in the team for the midfielder in the last two seasons, and now he is looking forward to working with his new teammates in Germany.

“I enjoyed it [the first two training sessions]. It’s a very good team with good players who are nice people as well. I’ve had some very good chats with the guys,” Van de Beek told German media this week.

“Of course, I already knew the club and how they wanted to play was also important for me. I had a good chat with the coach and the way he sees football, that convinced me and I had a good feeling about it.

“Every player has their own personal goals, but I’m here to help the team and play at my highest level. I’m convinced that Frankfurt is a good place for me right now. No.8 or No.10 are my best positions.

“To come on the ball and connect or come into the box and maybe score goals or give assists, that’s my best position. In the past, I played in the No.6 position, but my strength is more as a box-to-box player, or as a No.10.”

Van de Beek’s explanation of his favoured positions spells the difficulties he faced at Old Trafford due to the strength in that position. Ten Hag provided Bruno Fernandes with the captain’s armband in the summer, and the Portuguese man is one of the key players for the Dutchman.

With his counterpart Van de Beek being in the shadows, Ten Hag was unwilling – like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – to fit the midfielder into the team without moving pieces around.

Asked about his difficult spell with United, the Dutchman added: “If you don’t play as many games as you want, it’s tough, but that’s the past now. I’m here now, and I’m positive, which is the most important thing and then things can change.

“I’m looking forward now. I think it helps when you play with players [at United] who have achieved a lot and have experience. You see them in training every day, which helps develop you, and I’ll try to bring that here as well to help the team.

“I’ve seen a lot in football now and hope to be able to pass on some of it on here. If the coach puts me on the field, I’ll, of course, be ready. I’m fit, I played a few friendlies in the training ground. I know that’s different, but I trained hard in Manchester.

“I feel good. Of course, you also need match practice to get to your best level, but I’m fit, and this is the most important thing.”