The Manchester United legend gave his verdict on Van de Beek’s troubling circumstances at Old Trafford this season.
Rio Ferdinand has no doubts over Donny van de Beek’s talent, but he can’t help but wonder why Manchester United signed him in the first place.
Van de Beek hasn’t lived up to expectations since his big-money arrival from Ajax last summer. The midfielder has made 27 appearances in all competitions, including 13 in the Premier League. But he has only started twice in the English top-flight. The bulk of his minutes have instead come in domestic cup games.
Now Ferdinand has suggested United have may misled Van de Beek during transfer talks last year.
“I feel for him,” the former Red Devils center-back said on his VIBE with FIVE show. I don’t care who you are – if you’re playing the odd two minutes here and there, three minutes here and there, you cannot perform.
“I don’t care what level of player you are.
“I don’t think he’s been helped in terms of team selection and opportunities so I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s underperforming because he’s not been put in a position to perform yet on a consistent basis.
“I really do feel for him but it would be interesting to hear what he was sold and told on the way in because the lack of opportunities, I don’t think he’d have come here if he’d known that.”
Ferdinand added: “I think he would add value to this team, definitely.
“He’s someone who would create goals, he played a part in the goal (versus Leicester). When he gets in the box, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.
“But to get in the box he’s got to play in the position where Bruno Fernandes is playing and he’s not going to do that. Can he do it from No.8 position or No.6 when he’s holding? I think he can. He’s intelligent enough.
“Ajax players are brought up to be intelligent footballers, they are able to play multiple positions, he can do that. It’s just obvious United want a stiffer central midfield area behind Bruno.
“I get that, given that’s got to be protecting the center-backs and that’s not going to be one of Van de Beek’s strengths. But then it begs the question: why buy him then?”