Donny van de Beek has rarely started for Manchester United this season. The vast majority of his 16 league games have come off the bench and he has yet to shoot in full at Old Trafford.

But if the Dutchman had been used more wisely, United’s title challenge could still roar instead of hissing.

There is no doubt about the quality of Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese was sensational for the Red Devils with 26 goals and 16 assists this season alone.

(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images)

But the Portuguese have only one goal and one assist in their last eight Premier League games. Three 0-0 draws during this period have cost United a lot of money.

With six more points on the board, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men would still have everything to play. Instead, it’s the Europa League or bankrupt as the Norwegian wants to win his first trophy as a manager.

And this is where the Van de Beek factor comes into play.

United apparently signed the £ 40million (BBC) man as a backup for Fernandes.

That was wise, but Van de Beek hardly played a role. Solskjaer doesn’t seem ready to give his best player the necessary breaks throughout the campaign.

Trust in Fernandes

Fernandes received repeated calls. Even when Van de Beek has started, the shadow of the Portuguese emerges from the bank.

The 24-year-old has almost always been replaced by his more experienced teammate when the game calls for a goal.

Some will argue that the Dutchman just hasn’t done enough. Still, he needed time to sleep and the knowledge that he could make a few mistakes without getting addicted or criticized.

United should have given Van de Beek a lot more minutes. Six here and seven there are not enough for him to get used to the bloody approach of the English top class.

Such sparse excursions also add to the pressure if it starts sporadically.

Van de Beek was seen as a smart and high quality addition to the United squad. He was brilliant at home and was encouraged to join some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

United wouldn’t have paid £ 40m for a player they didn’t want or need. But the excess of Fernandes bit her in this case.

Yes, the Portuguese should start most of the games. But his influence in the league waned as the team needed every single point.

A fully acclimatized Van de Beek could have been ready to fill the void.

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