Fletcher’s van de Beek stance clear as Man Utd midfielder told to "pack bags"

Darren Fletcher knows all too well about competition for places in a Manchester United midfield.

During his playing days at Old Trafford, the Scotland international had to contend with the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick.

And that experience could prove vital as Fletcher takes up a position in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team coaching staff.

After working with the youngsters since October of last year, he will now move alongside Mike Phelan and Carrick with the senior players at Carrington.

In his new role, he will be able to work directly alongside Donny van de Beek, another midfielder who is facing intense competition for opportunities.

Since signing from Ajax in the summer for £35million, the Netherlands international has started just two Premier League games and was an unused sub for the duration of the festive fixture schedule.

The press in Holland is very disappointed with his limited chances and a report in De Telegraaf, via Sport Witness, has told the 23-year-old to “pack his bags straightaway”, if he is left out of the line-up against Man City on Wednesday.

But if Solskjaer has any reluctance on including the summer signing, Fletcher’s intervention could prove pivotal, with the Sir Alex Ferguson favourite a huge admirer of the player.

“For somebody at his age, for that price, I think it’s a no-brainer,” Fletcher said, in September. “I saw him during Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season [in 2018/19], he was probably one of the catalysts for that.

“What I like about him is his flexibility in midfield. He understands when he needs to be a no.10 and what he has to do and he understands when he has to be a box-to-box midfielder; he’s got that Ajax upbringing in him and is a cultured footballer. “

Pre-empting his difficulties in forging a regular spot in the starting XI, Fletcher felt that his arrival would spark intense competition within the midfielders already at the club.

Should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer give Donny van de Beek a bigger role at Man Utd? Have your say here.

He added: “You really need strength in depth in there because you’ve got a big number of games to play and injuries are going to happen, so you need strength in depth all over the pitch.

“When I was at United we had five, six, seven midfielders fighting for two or three spots. And sometimes you got the jersey, you were the man in form and sometimes you were on the outside looking in – that’s just the way it is and the way it should be at a top club.

“You should be pushing each other. You shouldn’t think that you’re an automatic starter, and by adding players like Donny it gives competition for places and that squad depth.”

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