Rio Ferdinand does not believe Donny van de Beek has been given enough opportunities to demonstrate the strongest parts of his game at Old Trafford after the Dutchman struggled in Manchester United’s defeat by Aston Villa at the weekend.

Erik ten Hag’s side lost 3-1 to the Midlands outfit at Villa Park in Unai Emery’s first game as Villa boss, with Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey all getting on the scoresheet for the home side. The Reds pulled a goal back just before the break, but it wasn’t enough to get them back into the tie.

With Bruno Fernandes suspended after receiving his fifth yellow card of the campaign against West Ham, Ten Hag opted to start Van de Beek in place of the Portuguese star. The former Ajax man, who has struggled for minutes since his move to Old Trafford, was taken off in the 65th minute after failing to impact the game.

It was the 25-year-old’s first Premier League start of the season, and only his second of the campaign in all competitions. When asked what the purpose of playing Van de Beek against Villa was, Ferdinand suggested that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to show the strongest parts of his game.

“The manager knows him, the manager knows what he’s capable of. He has not got anywhere near doing that while he’s been at Manchester United, or in England for that matter,” Ferdinand said on Vibe with Five.

“I watched him, probably four or five times, a few times live as well, in that Ajax team. I know it was a while ago now, but I watched him in those games and he was one of the three or four players who you thought was going to be value for that club because of what he does.

“You get him in and around the box, this guy can finish. The problem with the way he’s been deployed at Man United is that he doesn’t ever get in the box, he doesn’t get the opportunity to get in there and show his best parts of his game, he hasn’t been able to find rhythm, momentum or form at all in a Man United shirt. The performance we saw wasn’t any different to what we’ve seen so far with Man United – no impact.”


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