Van de Beek and Pogba endure contrasting fortunes in latest bid to impress

Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba endured contrasting fortunes for their countries on Wednesday as they try to impress Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Neither player has yet managed to nail down a regular place under Solskjaer this season, with the manager tending to select two defensive midfielders behind star performer Bruno Fernandes.

Pogba has started only four of United’s seven Premier League games, while Van de Beek’s four starts so far have come in the Champions League and Carabao Cup.

Van de Beek at least has the excuse that he is finding his feet following his £40million summer switch from Ajax, while Pogba is still struggling to justify the £89m United paid Juventus for him four years ago.

And it was Van de Beek who had the better night of the two on Wednesday, as the 23-year-old scored in the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw against Spain.

Donny van de Beek celebrates scoring with ex-Man Utd man Memphis Depay

Van de Beek played the full 90 minutes for Holland, and volleyed in their equaliser two minutes into the second period after Sergio Cabales fired a first-half opener for Spain.

Van de Beek ghosted his way into the box undetected and when the ball fortuitously landed in his path at the back post he made no mistake, drilling it past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

However, Pogba gave an indifferent display as Finland recorded an unlikely 2-0 win away to world champions France.

Pogba’s body language in the first half was “very concerning”, according to Get French Football News, with the midfielder strolling around the pitch and pointing to other team-mates for passes rather than demanding the ball himself.

Paul Pogba’s body language was ‘concerning’ as France lost to Finland

The 27-year-old’s longer balls almost all went astray, and he was replaced by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante on the hour mark.

Pogba will need to turn in better performances in France’s Nations League games against Portugal and Sweden if he wants to earn a starting place for United in their next Premier League game against West Brom on November 21.

Van de Beek will hope to impress again for the Netherlands in their Nations League matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland.

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