Owen Hargreaves hailed Donny van de Beek’s ‘close to perfect’ performance in Manchester United’s decisive 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir in their return leg of the Champions League at Old Trafford as the midfielder made his fifth start of the season after joining the club in a £40million deal in the summer.
The Dutchman linked up with the attacking threats of Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford, playing a key role in United’s fourth goal with an artful pass to Mason Greenwood, who subsequently crossed for Daniel James to finish immaculately.
Van de Beek has noticeably struggled to force his way into the first team since arriving from Ajax but BT Sport pundit Hargreaves believes he may have convincingly played his way into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI for this Sunday’s game with Southampton. Hargreaves opined that the 23-year-old’s performance was ‘close to perfect’ with fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand also impressed and in agreement.
‘Van de Beek is so unselfish that he can just fit in,’ said Hargreaves.
‘I think he’s played himself into the starting lineup.’
Ferdinand added: ‘I was really was pleased with him. We’ve been impatient ourselves but Ole has shown why he has been thought of so highly.
‘He’s the one player than can play one-touch two-touch and keep it simple. He sacrifices parts of his game to help other people and you need that in great times.
‘He’s the one player that will make other players play well.’
Midfielder Van de Beek displayed confidence in possession, with a pass accuracy of 88 per cent and a total of 73 touches of the ball. He also created two chances and had a 100 per cent dribble completion rate.
Goals from Fernandes and Rashford put United ahead before James sealed the deal in the 92nd minute.
Although missing getting into the scoresheet himself, Van de Beek also caught the eye of none other than Paul Scholes.
‘Some of the one-touch stuff was brilliant,’ said the ex-United midfielder.
‘He had the awareness around him to find Cavani and find some good balls to Marcus.
‘What we saw tonight was his best position. I think he’s good enough at the defensive position. He will be willing to try to do that. But it won’t be the defensive quality he brings, he will be bringing stuff going forward.’