Rio Ferdinand has questioned why Manchester United paid a considerable sum to sign Donny van de Beek only to leave him out of the starting line-up on a regular basis.
The Red Devils paid an initial £35million to land the highly-rated midfielder from Ajax last summer.
But Van de Beek has made just two Premier League starts since moving to Old Trafford and is very much second choice in the No. 10 role behind Bruno Fernandes.
The Dutchman showed glimpses of his quality as he made a rare start in the FA Cup defeat at Leicester on Sunday, though he was hauled off just after the hour mark.
While Ferdinand insists Van de Beek deserves more opportunities in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, he questioned how shrewd it was to buy the 23-year-old.
“I think he would add value to this team, definitely,” the former England defender said of Van de Beek on his Vibe With FIVE podcast.
“He’s someone who would create goals, he played a part in the goal [vs Leicester]. When he gets in the box, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.
“But to get in the box, he’s got to play in the position where Bruno Fernandes is playing and he’s not going to do that.
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“Can he do it from No. 8 position or No. 6 when he’s holding? I think he can. He’s intelligent enough. Ajax players are brought up to be intelligent footballers, they are able to play multiple positions, he can do that.
“It’s just obviously United want a stiffer central midfield area behind Bruno. I get that, given that’s got to be protecting the centre-backs and that’s not going to be one of Van de Beek’s strengths. But then it begs the question: why buy him then?”
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Ferdinand even claimed Van de Beek may have been mislead when he agreed to join United, as he has not been given the minutes he needs to show his best form.
“This isn’t what he was sold,” said Ferdinand. “I feel for him in that. Has he done enough when he’s been given an opportunity? I think it’s been difficult.
“I don’t care who you are. If you’re playing the odd two minutes here and there, three minutes here and there, you cannot perform. I don’t care what level of player you are.
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“I don’t think he’s been helped in terms of team selection and opportunities so I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s underperforming because he’s not been put in a position to perform yet on a consistent basis.
“I really do feel for him but it would be interesting to hear what he was sold and told on the way in because the lack of opportunities, I don’t think he’d have come here if he’d known that.”
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