'Donny has to play' – Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says Van de Beek can leave

Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek arrives ahead of the Premier League game against Everton in November 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted that it might be time for midfielder Donny van de Beek to leave the club.

Ten Hag and Van de Beek worked together successfully at Ajax, but the Dutch international has found life more difficult at Old Trafford and was an unused substitute at St. James' Park as the Red Devils lost 1-0 to Newcastle on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of that match, Ten Hag said: "I think Donny has to play. In the last games he was in the squad, so he had the opportunity.

"It was a slow start to the season because he was still recovering from physical setbacks. But he is back now and he is doing really well in training, so if you can’t give him perspective then I can see he has to play for his career and for everything."

Van de Beek was wanted by a number of Europe's top teams after impressing for Ajax on their run to the Champions League semi-finals under Ten Hag in 2018/19.

The midfielder moved to United the following year, but has made only 62 appearances since, with just 23 starts in all competitions.

He moved to Everton on loan in the second half of the 2011/22 campaign, but returned to Old Trafford again in the summer after playing in only seven matches for the Toffees.

And not even the appointment of his former coach Ten Hag has improved his situation in what is already his fourth season at United.

Asked last week about his lack of playing time, the midfielder said: "I am bouncing to play matches again. The manager is making different choices now. We have a big squad and I am not the only one knocking on the door. We'll see in January what happens.

"I need to start playing games very soon – if not at Man United then at another club. I think I have to be ambitious. I have always been a lover of the game. I am absolutely crazy about football.

"I earn a good living at United, but money is not my motivation. I want to enjoy my work every day."

Van de Beek is under contract until 2025, with the option to extend that agreement for a further year.

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