Erik ten Hag explains why Donny van de Beek struggled at Man Utd

Erik ten Hag has admitted injuries ultimately curtailed Donny van de Beek’s Manchester United career following his January move to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Much was expected of Van de Beek when he joined Man Utd for a reported £35m back in 2020, with the midfielder having enjoyed a thoroughly successful spell in the Ajax team which made it to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 – scoring a famous goal in the quarter-finals against Juventus.

Things didn’t quite pan out for the Dutch international at Old Trafford, however. Van de Beek managed just two goals in four Premier League seasons with the Red Devils, and was even shipped out on loan to Everton for the second half of the 2021/22 campaign.

Van de Beek has once again left the club on loan this January, joining Eintracht Frankfurt on New Year’s Day. The move could become permanent if Frankfurt take up their £9.5m option to sign the player outright in the summer.

Donny van de BeekDonny van de Beek

Off to the Bundesliga / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Speaking to the press ahead of Man Utd’s FA Cup clash with Wigan Athletic, manager Ten Hag offered a suggestion as to why Van de Beek struggled.

“He has had many injuries and that is first of all,” Ten Hag said. “I have now worked two years with him and before he worked under different managers here as well.

“He had another loan as well. From the moment I came here at Man Utd, he wasn’t the player I had at Ajax because he was injured and so many times he was unavailable.

“Then he struggled for a long time with recovering from that injury. So I think that is probably the main reason for why he wasn’t playing. Then we decided on a loan in the summer and nothing came, then his opportunities were so few because also we made appointments and agreements with players and there was conflict in those positions, the competition was high.”

The midfielder missed 52 games due to various injury concerns during his time at Old Trafford, with an ACL injury back in January 2023 seeing him miss the second half of the 2022/23 season in its entirety.


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