Solskjaer addresses Van de Beek game time frustration after Man Utd midfielder's chewing gum incident

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down Donny van de Beek's angry reaction to not being brought on as a substitute during Manchester United's Champions League victory over Villarreal in midweek, while also reasserting that he wants "no sulkers" in his squad.

Video footage has emerged of Van de Beek storming back to the bench after not being brought on during the 2-1 win, throwing his training bib to the ground and then chucking his chewing gum away in anger.

It comes amid ongoing questions about Van de Beek's place at United as he struggles for regular game time, and while Solskjaer said there is no immediate issue with the former Ajax midfielder, he needed all his players to show professionalism and support for him and their team-mates.

What has been said?

Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Solskjaer said: "I manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers, who want to make a difference, to play, they all want to be on the pitch of course they do.

"Donny was ready to come on, as all players should be. I have been a sub more than anyone in this club probably, I must have the record, and you have to be ready all the time. I have been not very happy a few times, but that is just a decision the manager makes.

"Alex [Telles] was coming off as a left-back, and Fred did that job well. I understand the frustration, every player is keen to play, that has to build into energy and determination for when you come on - then show me. That is not just Donny, all the players.

"I have a squad of internationals and if we're going to be successful together we need positive energy, we can't have energy sappers or sulkers. Donny has never ever affected his team negatively, just so that is said, but as soon as I see players affecting the team negatively that is a different scenario. Then I will probably be a little bit firmer."

Van de Beek at Man Utd

The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Ajax in a £35 million deal in September 2020, but struggled to break into midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in his first season in English football - and his second campaign has been no better.

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He has played just 141 minutes across three games, with his only full game coming in the home defeat to West Ham in the League Cup. He started United's opening Champions League game against Young Boys, but was taken off at half-time due to the tactical reshuffle following Aaron Wan-Bissaka's red card.

The lack of game time and now questions over his attitude have led to speculation that Van de Beek could look to leave Old Trafford in January or next summer.

Further Reading