IF one man at Manchester United is pleased about their crazy schedule over the next week then it will be Donny van de Beek.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team played the first of FOUR matches in just seven days in Rome on Thursday night.
And within that mad run, there will surely be scope for their Dutch midfielder to finally make his mark for the Red Devils.
If so, he will need to show a bit more than he did in this rare 90 minute outing.
The 24-year-old was picked to start here for only the 13th time in what has been a deeply frustrating first season in England.
The joke doing the rounds among United fans at the weekend was that the anti-Glazer protesters who forced their way into Old Trafford on Sunday spent more time on the pitch than van de Beek has this season.
Van de Beek has managed just 65 minutes of action since his last start - the disappointing FA Cup defeat to Leicester back on March 21.
And that was spread across five sub appearances.
Last time he started a game that United won was in the same competition against West Ham back in February.
Yet here was a perfect chance for him to make an impression and show why United beat off a host of top clubs to sign him last summer.
Solskjaer said before kick off: “Donny has been really good in training. We’re going to see lots of rotation in midfield with Donny, Bruno and Paul in there.”
The idea was that the quick passing among those three would mean United dominated the ball and Roma had to feed off scraps.
Yet for much of the first half he was anonymous out on the left – with the Italian side having some joy down his flank.
The £35 million ace clearly has a touch of class and occasionally shows glimpses of what he can do.
There was the moment when he linked up with Luke Shaw to create a chance which Bruno Fernandes curled wide.
And he created another opening for the Portuguese in the second half with more neat approach play down his wing.
But there was not much else significant from him with Fernandes and Cavani doing most of the damage for the visitors.
The word at United is that they plan to persevere with him next season rather than looking to sell or send him out on loan.
Former United keeper Edwin van der Sar, now an executive at Ajax, said this week he just needs a break.
He said: “Of course I feel sad for Donny. He walked the perfect path before joining United.
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“Their midfield is too stacked. They’ve not had any injuries – it’s hard for him.”
Because of the quality United have in that stacked midfield, Van de Beek is going to have to show more than this to get a regular game.
More chances should come in the next few days – and he needs to take one of them.
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