Manchester United can finally fix midfield issue with makeshift Newcastle experiment

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks Ronaldo

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be left with little choice but to hand Donny van de Beek a rare chance to shine when Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Saturday. All eyes will be on the main man Cristiano Ronaldo and whether he is handed a starting berth but Solskjaer has several other crucial decisions to make when selecting his side.

Scott McTominay has only just resumed training following minor groin surgery and as things stand, Manchester United will not be able to field Fred.

That’s because the Brazilian has been banned for five days by FIFA after United failed to release him for international duty with the Selecao.

Assuming the situation does not change and McTominay is not deemed fully fit, Solskjaer’s midfield options could prove to be limited.

Paul Pogba has struggled to showcase his star quality in a two-man midfield and he was overrun at times against Wolves last time out.

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Solskjaer prefers to operate with Pogba on the left side of the forward line and although he could be recalled in central midfield, United are expected to explore a different avenue.

Nemanja Matic is set to sit and protect while Van de Beek could get the minutes he has been promised.

He was on course to join Everton on loan on deadline day before Solskjaer put a stop to the move.

Van de Beek has since revealed Solskjaer told him he was still needed at Old Trafford, telling FIVE: “They were clear they wanted me to stay here. The manager was really positive about me and he said, ‘I need you and I want to keep you here’.

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“Of course, what I see here now in the beginning of the season is difficult because I didn’t play one minute, but he said, ‘What I see every day in training, I see a different Donny now’.”

Yet while much has been made about United needing another central midfield player, Van de Beek could be the answer to their prayers after all.

It should not be forgotten that during his time at Ajax, Van de Beek was regularly controlling games in the middle of the park.

Not only in the Eredivisie either but also at the highest level in the Champions League knockout stages as Ajax reached the semi-finals in 2019.

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That is why United signed him but for one reason or another, he has not been fully unleashed yet in Manchester and for that reason, it’s hard to be overly critical over him just yet.

Solskjaer is said to want a passing midfielder as opposed to a defensive lynchpin, yet Van de Beek has been continuously overlooked.

But should he be given the nod in a makeshift pairing with Matic, it could prove to be an eye-opener for Solskjaer and his coaching staff.

Fred and McTominay are too similar while the Serbian and Van de Beek have the qualities to complement one another.

Matic will sit and protect while Van de Beek will get on the ball and looked to dictate, helping transition defence into attack.

Should the latter two start, don’t be surprised if this proves to be a game-changing experiment for Solskjaer that really shakes up his midfield plans moving forward.

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