Dimitar Berbatov has admitted he wouldn’t be surprised if Donny van de Beek looks for a move away from Manchester United despite arriving at Old Trafford just four months ago.
The Netherlands international has started just twice in the Premier League since his £40million summer arrival from Ajax.
On Wednesday evening, the 23-year-old appeared as a substitute for the last two minutes as United lost 2-0 to their arch-rivals Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final.
And Berbatov believes the Dutchman’s patience will now be wearing extremely thin following his lack of game time at Old Trafford.
“I don’t know what is going on with Donny Van de Beek,” he told Betfair. “I said before he signed that I like him as a player, he was great for Ajax and his national team, but now he can’t get a game at United. I don’t watch the training sessions and the little time he does get on the pitch isn’t enough to judge him.
“He needs a run of games in a row to give him confidence. I can see that his confidence isn’t high at the moment, and that’s normal because when you don’t play you start punishing yourself and ask questions of yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is starting to look for the exit and nobody will blame him. Something isn’t working.”
Big things were expected of Van de Beek when the deal was done last September, but it’s undeniable he’s been one of the biggest disappointments of the season mainly due to his lack of opportunities at the club.
And Berbatov questioned why other members of United’s squad were being favoured by Solskjaer over Van de Beek.
“At the moment Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Fred are all ahead of him, judging by the amount of game time he is getting,” the former United forward added. “Are all these players better than him? I don’t think so, everybody is different and everyone can bring different qualities to a game. That’s why I’m wondering what is going on.
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“I still think he can help the team. The minutes he is getting isn’t enough to build his confidence and integrate him into the team and to get used to the Premier League. Sometimes you can be ahead of other players purely based on your name and reputation, this is how unfair it is in football sometimes.
“He should be banging on the manager’s door and ask: what is going on? he should be asking why he’s not playing and what he can do to improve his situation. Then depending on what answers he gets, he can evaluate and do what is necessary.
“He’s only 23, so he’s got lots of football in him and he won’t want to waste any time. It’s an unpleasant situation for the player and hopefully it gets resolved soon.”