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oh donny boy Van De Beek made the right choice moving to United says Dutch legend De Boer

Holland star says his compatriot will thrive at United and he's there for the long haul

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Manchester United's Donny Van De Beek is challenged by Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig

Manchester United's Donny Van De Beek is challenged by Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig

Manchester United's Donny Van De Beek is challenged by Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig

Donny van de Beek has been on a special secret body-building programme since his arrival at Old Trafford.

Much had been made of his absence from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's starting line-ups before he finally began last week's Champions League 5-0 hammering of RB Leipzig.

Some even suggested Solskjaer didn't really want the £40m summer buy from Ajax.

The reality is that Manchester United's medical analysts recognised that for the 23-year-old to prosper in English football he needed to add muscle.

Come Wednesday night, and the clash with Istanbul Basaksehir that could see boss Solskjaer virtually book a place in the last 16 of Europe's top competition, the midfielder will almost certainly be on the park for kick-off.

And the care that United are taking with him - as opposed to those rumours that he was somehow being frozen-out - indicates how important the midfielder really will become for his new club down the line.

United put Bruno Fernandes through the same strengthening process as the Dutchman - although the need at the club when he arrived was so great that he was allowed to make an immediate impact.

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Van de Beek had interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Photo: Eric Verhoeven/Getty Images)

Van de Beek had interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Photo: Eric Verhoeven/Getty Images)

Van de Beek had interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Photo: Eric Verhoeven/Getty Images)

It has been interesting to note, however, that the Portuguese international's performances have dialled down since the restart - an indication that he did, indeed, need special treatment to enable him to utilise his cunning skills over longer periods.

Solskjaer only wants Van de Beek to grow, as it were, and the player's fellow countryman Ronald de Boer believes it will take a while to settle into life at Old Trafford.

The Dutch legend even draws comparisons to Neymar when he first arrived at Barcelona from Santos back in 2013.

De Boer can see that United are looking at Van de Beek long-term, saying: "I think Solskjaer has a plan with him, but it will take time to adapt.

"I remember when Neymar came to Barcelona from Santos and during the first few weeks he was on the bench. Yet he was the superstar in Brazil at that moment.

"People have to understand Van de Beek, his team-mates and the coach.

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"United have spent a lot of money on the boy and he's on the bench sometimes playing five minutes.

"Donny is a very intelligent boy and he will fight until the end. I think Manchester United will have a lot of enjoyment with him."

De Boer, whose twin brother Frank is boss of their country's national team, believes Van de Beek bought into the plan to build him up right from the start.

The former Ajax star played at the top of a midfield diamond in the trouncing of Leipzig but can play as a holding player, as well as on the flanks.

And - for De Boer - diamonds are forever. And given that he comes from Amsterdam, the world-renowned City of Diamonds, he should probably know.

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Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Van de Beek is only at the start of a journey that could have taken him to Barcelona or Real Madrid in the summer.

Instead, he plumped for soggy old Manchester and the undoubted promise that he would emerge highly-polished and precious.

De Boer says he knows that Van de Beek knows what is planned for him, stressing: "You don't say I'm going to Manchester United for the money.

He's a young player who wants to play every week and would have been asking the manager what kind of role he saw for him in the coming years.

"And that's what has been made clear to him, otherwise he wouldn't have made the step.

"A lot of other interesting clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid were also available to him. But he decided his future lay best with United and I think he made the right choice."

Solskjaer is bound to ring the changes for the visit of Basaksehir who have lost both Champions League encounters so far, following Sunday's abysmal show against Arsenal.

The United gaffer may well blood Dean Henderson in his first Champions League clash after the goalkeeper committed to life at Old Trafford after two seasons on loan with Sheffield United.

Just like Van de Beek, the 23-year-old knows that there is a route map to stardom for him and it is only going to be a matter of time before he succeeds David de Gea.

For Henderson, like Van de Beek, time is on his side and a win over the Turks, following those sensational victories against PSG and Leipzig, will also give Solskjaer time to rest some of his main players as Group H draws to a close.


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