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Erik ten Hag hints at position to resurrect Donny van de Beek’s Man Utd career

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has suggested Donny van de Beek could resurrect his career at Old Trafford as an attacking midfielder.

Van de Beek struggled to nail down a regular position during 18 difficult months at United, before finishing last season on loan with Everton.

The former Ajax star has been deployed in a number of different roles. But he has started only four Premier League games in a United shirt in total since his £40m transfer in the summer of 2020 and not at all in the league in the first half of 2021/22.

At Ajax under the Ten Hag, Van de Beek made his name as an attacking midfielder who would arrive in the penalty area to score goals. That role saw him rack up 40 goals in three seasons from 2017 to 2019, including 17 in all competitions when the club reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Now that Ten Hag has been charged with rebuilding United, there has been hope that Van de Beek will finally be able to find a place and live up to his reputation. And the new boss appears to be ready to utilise his former player in his best position.

“Donny van de Beek’s best position is his capabilities in the box of opponent. Playing short behind a striker, he has a really good smell for being in the right position,” Ten Hag said from United’s pre-season tour that has continued to Australia after thrashing Liverpool in Thailand.

Listen now to 90min’s Manchester United podcast, The Promised Land, with Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette. In the latest edition they discuss the latest on Man Utd’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, Lisandro Martinez & the Cristiano Ronaldo saga.

United romped to a 4-0 victory over their north west rivals earlier this week, with fans impressed with the dramatic improvement in performances from last season only a fortnight into the new era.

“I think Manchester United has a huge potential, and really good players,” the boss said.

“We have experienced players, but also a lot of young guys, young boys, who have a lot of potential. Now it’s to get the potential out and therefore we have to work really hard.”

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