Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could spring a surprise selection when Manchester United face Watford on Saturday after being ‘impressed’ with what he’s seen in training during the international break, according to a report.
The international break may have come at just the right time for Solskjaer and Manchester United. The Red Devils had lost three of their last four league matches. The manner of their defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City were particular low points.
Pressure was mounting on Solskjaer’s position, while criticism for the likes of Harry Maguire had reached new levels.
However, Maguire returned to form against admittedly weaker opposition for England. Solskjaer, meanwhile, has repeatedly been stated by the press to be safe in his job at present. That’s despite links with Zinedine Zidane and Brendan Rodgers refusing to go away.
But while the Norwegian remains in charge, his sole focus will be on the next match ahead. And according to the Mirror, Solskjaer could spring a surprise in his starting eleven for Saturday’s clash with Watford.
They state wantaway midfielder Donny Van de Beek could be in line for his first league start of the season. The Dutchman has reportedly ‘impressed’ Solskjaer and his coaching staff during the week in training.
As a result, Van de Beek is ‘in the frame’ to start the contest at the expense of either Scott McTominay or Fred. Paul Pogba will serve the final match of his suspension following his red card against Liverpool.
Should the midfielder be selected from the off, it will be his first league start of the season. And judging from the sarcastic cheers his cameo appearance from the bench received against City, United fans will be on board if Solskjaer makes the call.
Many Red Devils players may also be glad to see Van de Beek start if the Daily Mail’s report last week is to be believed. His lack of gametime – along with Jesse Lingard – was stated to be a source of consternation within the playing ranks.
Another benefit of starting Van de Beek was hinted at by transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano. The Italian revealed the 24-year-old’s thinking ahead of a potential January move could be changed in the coming weeks.
Van de Beek transfer plan revealed
Van de Beek has persistently been linked with a January exit, be it loan or permanent sale. Real Madrid were the latest club to have their name thrown in the mix.
With Los Blancos legend Luka Modric now 36, Van de Beek was reportedly being lined up as the Croatian’s long-term successor.
Fabrizio Romano has dismissed that narrative. However, he did acknowledge Van de Beek will seek a winter window exit if regular starts aren’t forthcoming between now and January 1.
“Donny van de Beek has never been offered to Real Madrid,” tweeted Romano. “There are many clubs interested but no talk, proposal or negotiation with Real Madrid as things stand.
“The plan is still to leave Man Utd in January if he’s not gonna be involved in Solskjær team in the next weeks.”