Rio Ferdinand has attributed Donny van de Beek’s lack of game time at Manchester United to his “polite” personality.
The Dutchman has long been on the periphery of first-team football at Old Trafford, and was recently caught on camera expressing visible frustration after he was overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Man Utd prepared a double substitution in the club’s 2-1 win over Villarreal.
Dean Henderson was captured consoling his disappointed club-mate in the Champions League match last week and in the aftermath Solskjaer stated he “can’t have sulkers” in his squad, though he did emphasise that Van de Beek “has never affected his team-mates negatively”.
It was a frustrating maiden campaign for the former Ajax midfielder, who mustered just four Premier League starts in 2020/21, and that treatment has spilled over to this season, with the 24-year-old being afforded just five minutes of action in the English top flight.
Speaking about Van de Beek’s current situation at Old Trafford, former centre-back Ferdinand believes the Netherlands international is a victim of his own “polite” personality, believing he is “too nice” to get what he wants under Solskjaer, but insists the experience will build his character.
Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel: “I think the big thing with Donny van de Beek – and he’s a great guy, we’ve had him on the show before – he’s a really calm, relaxed guy.
“I think this is a funny situation because if he was a bad guy and he was volatile and he was loud, he’d be gone. He wouldn’t be at Man United.
“And sometimes when you’re too nice maybe, or you’re nice about a situation and you’re polite, you might not get the situation that you really require for yourself. And I think that’s probably the problem for someone like Donny van de Beek.”
Van de Beek appeared as a guest on Ferdinand’s channel a few weeks back, and the former England international admits he has regular contact with the midfielder, saying that whatever happens at Man Utd, he will come out the other end with a stronger mentality.
He continued: “It’s crazy because I saw him the other day, I spoke to him. I said to him, ‘Regardless of what happens man, just work hard’ and I think he said that on the show.
“And I said to him, ‘These experiences are what build people, they build you as a human being but they build you as a player: the character, the personality. And I think in time you’ll look back and think that made me stronger’.
“He will never see it now, but he’ll look back and go, ‘You know what, that helped make me get stronger’ and he can use this to fuel him and push him on in the next phase of his career when it comes.”