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Manchester United midfielder Van de Beek aiming to follow Dutch masters as he prepares for Premier League debut

09:20 BST 16/09/2020
Donny van de Beek, Manchester United badge
The new arrival at Old Trafford has watched plenty of stars from Netherlands turn out for the Red Devils, and can't wait to make his own mark

Donny van de Beek grew up watching some of the greatest players from Netherlands star for Manchester United - now the latest Dutchman to wear the red jersey cannot wait to leave his own mark at Old Trafford.

Van de Beek is the only major incoming transfer at United so far this summer, moving from Ajax in a £35 million ($46m) deal. The midfielder could make his competitive debut for the club on Saturday when they face Crystal Palace in their opening game of the 2020-21 Premier League season.

There is plenty of expectation on the shoulders of the 23-year-old, however he is keen to rise to the challenge of following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen who became icons for the Red Devils.

He told club magazine Inside United: “I watched United a lot. Because a lot of Dutch players have played here and this was nice to watch if you’re a young kid and you see the Dutch players there.

“Daley [Blind], Edwin [van der Sar], Robin van Persie, you see them. They won a lot of titles and United always played nice football, which was always good to see.”

Van de Beek is the latest up and coming young star to move into the United first team picture, along with players like Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial, as well as academy-produced players such as Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, while team-mate Luke Shaw says the midfielder has immediately fitted in well.

Being surrounded by players of a similar age is another bonus for the Netherlands international, who feels he can learn from his contemporaries and sees a bright future for them as a group.

Van de Beek said: “I cannot wait to play many games with them. There are a lot of young players in the group, around my age, and I think this is a really big opportunity for me to help the team.

“It’s always good to play with these kinds of players, you can learn from everybody. Everybody has their own qualities and you have to pick things up from them. I’m really happy I can play with them. That is what I want and I hope together we can make a really nice future for the club.”

Despite United being one of the football world's biggest names, Van de Beek says he has been impressed by the personal touches he has felt since moving to United. After impressing on his debut - a pre-season friendly against Aston Villa - he cannot wait to get going in earnest.

He said: “Everyone has helped me a lot and wanted to make me feel at home and this is really good for me and it has given me the confidence to play. It’s a family club, I feel this already from the first seconds I have been here.

“Old Trafford is an amazing stadium. The nicest thing will be when the fans are there too and I cannot wait to play for the first time in front of them. I hope to see them soon in the stadium because for our team they will give us a lot of power when we can have them with us."