Man Utd’s Donny van de Beek failed to take Paul Pogba chance despite West Ham FA Cup win

Man Utd v West Ham: Match in pictures

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Donny van de Beek failed to impress as Manchester United defeated West Ham United to progress to the next round of the FA Cup. With Paul Pogba absent due to injury, Van de Beek was given a rare start by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Dutch midfielder has made just two Premier League starts since arriving at Old Trafford from Ajax last August.

He has found it difficult to break past Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Pogba and into Solskjaer’s plans so far this term. But Pogba has been ruled out for the next several weeks with a thigh injury, potentially opening the door for van de Beek.

The 23-year-old struggled to make an impact against United’s Premier League opposition, with Jermaine Jenas noting in the BBC’s commentary that he had touched the ball just 13 times in the opening half-hour.

He continued to struggle after half-time and was eventually replaced after 74 minutes by Fernandes, with McTominay scoring United’s winner in extra-time.

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Jenas did have sympathy for van de Beek, who has been limited to mainly substitute appearances for the Red Devils.

“Donny van de Beek is trying. He’s trying to find those little pockets of space but it’s been very difficult for him.

“He’s done OK but hasn’t really impacted the game. He’s not getting a run of games so it’s difficult.”

Van de Beek had been selected in the role that Fernandes normally occupies, but appeared to be dropping too deep when United did not have the ball.

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That led to both Solskjaer and first team coach Michael Carrick speaking with the midfielder in a failed attempt to conjure a reaction.

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer was also less than impressed with van de Beek, especially his movement around West Ham’s defensive lines.

“Because of the numbers that West Ham have, there’s just no space in there. He’s trying to find pockets between the midfield and the back four but there isn’t any,” Shearer said in his half-time analysis on the BBC.

“He’s tending to stand up against the defensive line rather than those little pockets. He hasn’t moved enough.

“He’s not really looking to get in behind and it’s because of that that he’s then coming a little bit deeper, finding himself in the full-back position just to try and get touches on the ball.

“He’s got to try to find those spaces in the pockets. There are spaces there and he has to get into them, get on the ball and get at that back four.”

The midfielder failed to improve after the break, sending a cross-field pass straight into touch after 56 minutes, then being caught offside when he finally did get behind West Ham’s defence before finally being replaced.

Van de Beek’s off the pace display will do him no favours as he attempts to convince Solskjaer that he can be the man to fill the void that Pogba’s injury has left.

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