Donny van de Beek
Van de Beek’s agent: “Donny is very happy with every minute he can play in a Manchester United shirt”
Donny van de Beek has been a substitute in both of Manchester United’s Premier League games so far this season
Donny van de Beek’s agent Guido Albers has insisted the midfielder is happy at Manchester United after the player’s advisor, Ajax legend Sjaak Swart, criticised the club for putting him on the bench.
Van de Beek signed a five-year deal with United after arriving for a fee of up to £39m from Ajax earlier this month, but has played in just 24 minutes of their two Premier League games so far this season.
Despite his lack of football, Van de Beek was still able to make an impact in both of those appearances; he scored on his debut in United’s defeat to Palace, and helped to earn the penalty that led to their winner at Brighton.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to bring Van de Beek off the bench in the 91st minute at the Amex did not impress Swart, who spent nearly 20 years as a player at Ajax, making over 600 appearances and winning three consecutive European Cups between 1971 and 1973.
Swart told VoetbalPrimeur: “A substitute; I don’t like it at all. I couldn’t do it, coming on with four minutes left. You’d have to leave me on the bench. But, I have to say, he still did three good things.
“And the penalty, where the winning goal came from, came from him. He did well in those couple of minutes. But normally they should have lost 7-1. Brighton hit the post and the bar five times.
“They (Brighton) have a nice team, but that shouldn’t happen to Manchester United.”
However, Van de Beek’s agent Albers played down those comments, telling Sky Sports News: “Donny is very happy at Manchester United and has a great relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club’s staff and his new team-mates.
Van de Beek is happy at Manchester United, says his agent Guido Albers
“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 to Donny, and someone who is an Ajax legend.
“Donny is very happy with every minute he can play in a Manchester United shirt.”
While Van de Beek has had to be patient for game-time in the Premier League, he did start United’s Carabao Cup win at Luton last week, and will hope to feature again in their fourth-round tie away to Brighton on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports.
The making of Van de Beek
Donny Van de Beek scored late on his Manchester United debut against Crystal Palace
Judo and badminton might not be the first two sports that one thinks of when working out how to build a footballer but perhaps that shows a lack of imagination. There were those at Ajax who saw it differently.
Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek is among a generation of talent who have benefited from the innovative ideas of Dutch coach Rene Wormhoudt.
It was Wormhoudt who developed the Athletic Skills Model adopted by Ajax in the first part of the last decade. The principle was that youngsters needed to compete in other disciplines to become the best athletes that they could be. Racket sports were incorporated into the programme and, yes, even a dojo built so that these budding starts could go toe to toe.
As Wormhoudt explains, it was centred on one simple idea.
“Only focusing on football might not be the best way to become a football player.”
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Now working as a strength and conditioning coach for the Netherlands national team, Wormhoudt still has the opportunity to work with some of the players who came through the Ajax academy after his ideas were embraced. Van de Beek, now 23, was among them.
“I spoke with Donny about this when I knew we were going to talk,” Wormhoudt tells Sky Sports via a video call from his Netherlands home. “He would never have been involved with judo or badminton if we hadn’t implemented it in the educational programme at that time.”
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