Donny Van De Beek Compared To Manchester United Legend Before Debut
Donny van de Beek has had the highest praise lavished on him before his Premier League debut, with former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar comparing him to Paul Scholes.
The legendary Dutch goalie is perfectly placed to see the similarities, as he's been chief executive at Ajax during Van de Beek's rise and played with Scholes during six trophy-laden seasons at Old Trafford.
United spent £35 million on their new No 34 and while some questioned the logic when Bruno Fernandes has done much to improve United's midfield, there was a feeling that getting a gifted 23-year-old Holland international at such a reasonable price was business too good to be ignored. Van der Sar clearly agrees, as he sung Donny's praises like he owed the player money.
"He can play in different positions in midfield - he can be a six or an eight or a 10, he has a great eye for a goal. His technique is brilliant, he can go box to box," Van der Sar said on MUTV's Group Chat.
"I'd compare him a little bit to Scholesy, although Scholesy had a cracker of a shot from 30, 40 yards out and that's not Donny's strength, but he likes to come into the box and chip in with goals."
The former Man United No 1 then began emitting a loud beeping noise (probably) as he reversed slightly, perhaps realising the pressure it would pile on Van de Beek's shoulders to be compared to such a club hero.
"Maybe it's unfair to compare him to Scholesy actually, but he's a good lad and I'm sure he'll be a great addition to the team that Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] is creating for United," the keeper added.
"I presume he's had a talk with Ole and they've talked about different positions. He's multi-functional, he can play a little bit deeper which I think is his preferred role.
How to fit Van de Beek into the United team has been a big talking point since he signed, as Fernandes and Paul Pogba will presumably start in Solskjaer's first-choice XI (which we could get an idea of on Saturday when United host Crystal Palace).
The versatility which Van der Sar describes can only help the Dutch playmaker though. Plus now we know he's basically 'Donny van de Scholes', we can expect him to just ping pinpoint passes wherever he is on the pitch.
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Certainly Van der Sar, who was part of the transfer negotiations, believes that Old Trafford is the perfect home for his former player.
"We know that Ajax is a club that develops young players, it's very similar to United," he told MUTV. "I saw that in my six years there and you had players like Gary [Neville] and Ryan [Giggs], and now you have Mason [Greenwood], [Marcus] Rashford, [Scott] McTominay, [Brandon] Williams.
"United is also a club that gives chances to young players and of course you guys have the financial power to really get players to a high level.
"Our league is not as strong as the top five leagues and that's why we're in the position that after two or three years when a player gives their all to the club, wins trophies, scores goals, at a certain point we allow the player to take the next step...
"Of course I'd rather keep Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Hakim Ziyech as that would probably bring us more success in Europe. But for their development then they take the next step to a big European competition, and that only gives credit to our coaches, the youth academy and the people who invest a lot of time in making the players better.
"Also for the fans they want to have their heroes, but they're also looking for new heroes and that's the challenge that we have at Ajax."
Scholes himself was a sublime youth product at his club - and if Van de Beek can have even half of the success the ginger maestro enjoyed, he'll become a hero at Man United in the same way he was at Ajax. No pressure, Donny.
Imagery: Manchester United/PA Images
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