Man Utd boss Ten Hag handed major injury boost ahead of West Ham

ten Hag coy on if Ronaldo will keep Man Utd starting spot

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Manchester United brought Donny van de Beek off the bench in their recent 3-0 win over Sheriff. And, with the Netherlands international now fully fit again, that certainly gives Erik ten Hag a boost ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham. Bruno Fernandes has impressed as a leader but there’s still a sense Van de Beek, if given the chance, can stake his claim for the No 10 role.

Manchester United were too strong for Sheriff on Thursday night.

Goals from Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo gave them all three points – with Ten Hag welcoming both Van de Beek and Harry Maguire back into the fold on a straightforward evening at Old Trafford.

Until now, Van de Beek has been a curious case.

The United star was signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in the summer transfer window of 2020, having previously been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Many at the time thought the Red Devils had got themselves a bargain, especially with the 25-year-old only costing them £40million.

Except, the problem was Solskjaer never really wanted Van de Beek in the first place. Instead, he’d lobbied on club chiefs to get a deal for Jack Grealish over the line.

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Grealish was strutting his stuff for Aston Villa at the time but, when it became clear he’d be too expensive, United then delivered the signing of Van de Beek instead.

Since then, he’s often struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford.

Over two years on from his arrival, the Netherlands international has still been given just four Premier League starts – a quite remarkable statistic given his talents.

He wasn’t given a chance by Ralf Rangnick, spending the second half of last season on loan at Everton.

But Van de Beek was United’s most-used player back in pre season, with former and current boss Ten Hag hoping he can finally fulfil his potential at Old Trafford.

Certainly, there are things that bode well for the player that things can be better under his fellow Dutchman than they’ve been previously.

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Van de Beek’s best position is at No 10, where he can make things happen in attack while using his incredible movement to the benefit of his team-mates.

He’s neater and more-refined than Fernandes, who continues to blow hot and cold regardless of how the Red Devils fare.

Van de Beek being fully fit again gives United options, a chance to grant their No 8 a rest if and when needed.

And if Ten Hag can get him back to the player he was under his guidance at Ajax, there’s every chance he can finally be a hit at the club.

While Fernandes is still capable of the sublime, there’s a growing sense that he’ll need to be rested sooner rather than later.

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And, in Van de Beek, United finally have a replacement capable of stepping up.

Ten Hag is certainly backing his compatriot, believing he can help chip in with goals as the season goes on following his timely return from injury.

“Donny came in the last part and he also had some good positions in between the lines. I think that combination was good,” he said after the win over Sheriff.

“He was a long time out, I was happy to give him some minutes because you need that to get in the right form. He’s had to work himself back.

“He’s not even one week in training, same as Harry Maguire, so I was really happy to give Donny and Harry minutes because we need them in the coming weeks.


“When you analyse the season so far, then if he was available he’d get his chance.

“We need goals and I know Donny is really good in that position to score goals, but he’s also really good in defensive transition.”

United beat West Ham home and away last season.

They won 2-1 at the London Stadium, with goals from Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard giving them all three points.

And they then proceeded to emerge with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford back in January, with Rashford popping up with a dramatic late winner. 

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