Ferdinand claims Van de Beek would add value and intelligence to Utd's midfield

Rio Ferdinand admits he feels sorry for Donny van de Beek for not being given enough minutes at Manchester United and feels the Dutchman can add 'value' to the Red Devils.

The 23-year-old was United's £40million summer signing from Ajax but the midfielder has been left out in 20 matches this season and has played just 63 minutes of league football in 2021 so far.

Van de Beek showed his quality by playing a key role in Mason Greenwood's equaliser in United's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final loss to Leicester City on Sunday and Ferdinand claims the midfielder would not have moved to Old Trafford had he known about his bit-part role under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Speaking about Van de Beek, Ferdinand told VIBE with Five: 'I feel for him. I don't care who you are - if you're playing the odd two minutes here and there, three minutes here and there, you cannot perform. I don't care what level of player you are.

'I don't think he's been helped in terms of team selection and opportunities so I don't think it's fair to say he's underperforming because he's not been put in a position to perform yet on a consistent basis.

'I really do feel for him but it would be interesting to hear what he was sold and told on the way in because the lack of opportunities, I don't think he'd have come here if he'd known that.'

Van de Beek arrived at Old Trafford having made his name in Holland - playing a major role in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

In his final season with the Dutch giants, Van de Beek scored ten goals and registered 11 assists in a domestic campaign that was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Van de Beek has featured just 27 times for United as he struggles to compete alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba for a starting spot.

Former United defender Ferdinand believes his role in Greenwood's goal at the weekend shows the Dutchman's intelligence and ability to influence matters in the penalty area.

Ferdinand continued: 'I watched him a hell of a lot in the Champions League in the year they had a good run to the semi-finals, Ajax. He was so impressive in the way he arrived in the box, the way he could play deeper as well and keep the ball, keep the game ticking.

'I think he would add value to this team, definitely. He's someone who would create goals, he played a part in the goal (vs Leicester). When he gets in the box, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.

'But to get in the box he's got to play in the position where Bruno Fernandes is playing and he's not going to do that. Can he do it from No. 8 position or No. 6 when he's holding? I think he can. He's intelligent enough.

'Ajax players are brought up to be intelligent footballers, they are able to play multiple positions, he can do that. It's just obviously United want a stiffer central midfield area behind Bruno.

'I get that, given that's got to be protecting the centre-backs and that's not going to be one of Van de Beek's strengths. But then it begs the question: why buy him then?'

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