Donny van de Beek’s advisor has hit out at Manchester United’s treatment of the midfielder less than a month since he moved to Old Trafford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticised for not giving him the right length of game time.
Van de Beek made an immediate impact at United, scoring just 13 minutes into his debut after coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 defeat by Crystal Palace two weeks’ ago.
But despite hitting the ground running, Solskjaer has selected to stick with his preferred midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Nemanja Matic, with Van De Beek yet to receive his full Premier League debut.
The Dutchman’s only start to date came in the 3-0 win over Luton Town in the Carabao Cup last week, with the 23-year-old returning to the substitutes bench for Saturday’s narrow 3-2 victory over Brighton in which he came on for the final four minutes.
Solskjaer’s treatment of the £40m summer signing has triggered stinging criticism from the former Ajax midfielder’s advisor and mentor, the former Ajax and Netherlands winger Sjaak Swart, who expressed his unhappiness with his bit-part start to life in the Premier League.
“A substitute, I don't like it at all,” Swart told Dutch publication VoetbalPrimeur. “I couldn't do it myself, standing in with four minutes to play.”
De Beek is likely to return to the United starting line-up for their Carabao Cup return with Brighton, their second clash in the space of five days, though whether he is able to force his way into the starting line-up for their next Premier League encounter against Newcastle United after the international break remains to be seen.
Swart insists that he has already seen enough from Van De Beek’s performances to warrant a place in Solskjaer’s first-team plans, although in order to maintain the balance of his midfield, the Norwegian will have to likely choose between Van De Beek and Pogba for the trip to St James’ Park.
Van De Beek scored United’s consolation against Palace before helping to seal the three points against Brighton by winning the injury-time penalty that allowed Fernandes to strike from the spot, and Swart was scathing of United’s performance up until that point.
“I have to say he (Van De Beek) did three more good things,” added Swart. “The penalty, where the winning goal came from, it came from him.
“Normally they should've lost 7-1. Brighton hit the post and bar five times. They have a nice team, but that should not happen to Manchester United.”
The outburst is unlikely to be welcomed by Solskjaer, who is yet to find his preferred starting line-up after making an unimpressive start to the new season.
But Guido Albers, the agent who negotiated Van de Beek’s move to United, moved to smooth over relations following Swart’s outburst.
Albers told Sky Sports: "Donny is very happy at Manchester United and has a great relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club and his new teammates.
"There has been no problem at all since his move from Ajax, a deal that I negotiated on his behalf. Sjaak Swart was speaking in a personal capacity, as a mentor and advisor. toDonny, and someone who is an Ajax legend.
“Donny is very happy with every minute he can play in a Manchester United shirt.”