Rafael Van der Vaart believes Donny Van de Beek's struggles at Manchester United could be due to difficulties in adapting to the pace of the Premier League.
Manchester United signed Donny Van de Beek from Ajax for a reported fee of £40 million in the summer of 2020. He was signed as an exciting box-to-box midfielder who was more adept at attacking than defending.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meted out some harsh treatment for no reason to the young Dutch midfielder by benching him for the majority of the season. What made the decision surprising was the lack of game time Van de Beek got to prove his caliber on the pitch for Manchester United.
Solskjaer insisted on using a red-hot Bruno Fernandes, who was eventually fatigued due to lack of rotation. Even then, the Norwegian boss failed to rotate his players, with critics and fans calling out Solskjaer's illogical decision-making.
Some critics have also theorized that Van de Beek may not have been able to adjust to the pace of the Premier League. Similar thoughts have now been echoed by his compatriot and former Tottenham playmaker Rafael Van Der Vaart.
"I found the pace of the game was much quicker as you never had a break," Van der Vaart said in July. "[In other leagues] you'd take your time over a throw-in, or free-kick, but in England, everyone expects you to continue, continue. That was the hardest thing, but though the game was quick, there was a lot of space to play in between the lines, and as a No. 10 that was great."
Manchester United appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager
After investing heavily in the summer transfer market, Manchester United made a bright start to the new season. However, their flames were extinguished rather quickly as they went on a dull run which cost them many points. The Red Devils were also kicked out of the Carabao Cup earlier this year.
The side's poor run turned dismal when they lost back-to-back home games against arch-rivals Liverpool and Manchester City without putting up a fight. They followed it up with a 4-1 humiliation at Watford, which put an unpleasant end to Solskjaer's reign as Manchester United boss.
He departed the club last month and has now been replaced by Ralf Rangnick. The German is expected to take over come the weekend after being handed a six-month managerial contract at Manchester United.
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Post the management period that ends next summer, Rangnick is expected to don the hat of a consultant at the club.