Donny van de Beek can be Manchester United’s Paul Pogba contingency plan – Manchester Evening News

Manchester United’s defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup saw them throw away a decent opportunity to finally notch some silverware under the stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Fans have been quick to criticise their side’s display, though it wasn’t all doom and gloom on Wednesday night, with midfielders Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic putting in solid performances to stake their claim for a place in United’s Premier League starting XI.

In the latest United On My MindFacebook Live, writers Casey Evans (CE) and Anil Kandola (AK) discussed the midfield duo’s display.

CE : “One of the major pairings that we haven’t seen so far that we got to see against West Ham was Van de Beek and Matic. A lot of people have given praise to Van de Beek and I thought he played well. His passing was great and he spread the play very well, but some have criticised him.

“Casey Stoney said he was at fault for the goal, he wasn’t switched on and was caught chasing the ball and I think that’s the downside of Van de Beek- he’s not very defence-minded.

“I think the thing is he’s trying to get game time. Some of his decision-making was poor but his attacking output was fine. I do believe if he played against a stronger midfield, perhaps the normal West Ham midfield of [Declan] Rice and [Tomas] Soucek, he would’ve struggled.

“But I do think they played well and Nemanja Matic showed why he is still the best holding midfielder option at the club, the problem is he doesn’t have the legs to do it every game.”

AK : “Over the course of the season it will be a rotation system. Not necessarily fixed in terms of [Scott] Mctominay and Fred one week and then Matic and Van de Beek another week, I don’t think it’ll be like that.

Donny van de Beek showed promise in the defeat to West Ham

“You have to call it how it is and Van de Beek was caught ball-watching for West Ham’s goal and that’s something that’s always let him down in regards to playing in that holding midfield role – his defensive nous. He’s naturally someone who likes going forward and making the killer passes.

“There may be a big chance Paul Pogba will leave the club by the end of the season. At this moment in time, Van de Beek is just grateful for any minutes that he’ll play whether that’s in the six, eight or ten role.

“But I do think he’ll have a huge part to play if Pogba decides to leave. That potentially could be the reason why the club signed Van de Beek because up until now it hasn’t made sense.

“He hasn’t been given a string of games or even a specific position. I don’t think anybody can doubt the ability he has. He showed against West Ham in bursts the passing ability, the knowledge of where his teammates are and there’s almost a sense of comfort when he’s on the ball, he never looks like he will lose it.

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“It’s an interesting one considering I don’t think any of the midfield options are what United are looking for. If we could have a wish we’d make Matic five or six years younger then we wouldn’t have a problem at all, but, unfortunately, we don’t have a time machine and it doesn’t work like that!

“Van de Beek will be tried out in different positions but I believe it will certainly benefit him if he focuses on a specific area so he can adapt his game to that position.”

CE : “It’s a case of we have quite a lot of midfielders but not anyone who is quite truly what we want. As they say – square pegs in round holes.”

What do you think about Van de Beek and Matic as a midfield duo? Follow our United On My Mind writer and presenter Casey Evans and our trends writer Anil Kandola and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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