Frank de Boer praised Spain’s style of play ahead of the match with Spain. He said that Donny van de Beek’s frustrating start at Man United is not concerning him, but he was not so calm about Virgil van Dijk’s injury though.
Frank de Boer “said bad words” upon seeing Virgil van Dijk suffer a serious injury in action for Liverpool, though he is far more relaxed about Donny van de Beek’s situation at Manchester United.
Van Dijk is likely to be out for the rest of the season after sustaining significant damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in last month’s Merseyside derby. The 29-year-old centre-back was on the wrong end of a dreadful challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who remarkably avoided a red card. Of course, Van Dijk’s absence does not only impact Liverpool, it also affects the Netherlands, who could ultimately be without him for next year’s delayed European Championship.
“I saw it live. I was shocked. I said some bad words,” De Boer said on Tuesday ahead of a friendly against Spain on Wednesday. “It was a shock, because he’s such an important player, our captain, and he’s so important in our squad. We will miss him.”
De Boer was less concerned about the position Van de Beek finds himself in at United, however.
The midfielder, a pre-season arrival from Ajax, has been a bit-part player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term, making only four starts across all competitions – none of those have been in the Premier League, in which he has seen just 75 minutes of action.
De Boer acknowledged that the player has reason for frustration but urged patience. When asked if he wanted to give the 23-year-old a sympathetic hug, De Boer said: “I can’t hug him right now of course! I try to give him as much confidence as possible, which I showed by starting him against Italy. I think he did well in the games he played, I saw him a few times at United. He’s doing well, but they have a great midfield with [Bruno] Fernandes, [Paul] Pogba, Fred, [Scott] McTominay and [Nemanja] Matic.
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“It’s difficult, but I’m sure he will play his minutes. I can understand he wants to feature more frequently, but on the other hand, it’s always normal that you have to adapt when you go to a new league. Let’s hope he will get his playing time. I am happy that he’s well-rested. We can use him here.”
After the international break, Van de Beek will likely target Pogba’s position in the United team. The Frenchman has created just two goalscoring chances in the Premier League this term, only one more than Van de Beek despite playing 298 more minutes than him.
Pogba also has no goals in the top flight – Van de Beek netted his first for the club against Crystal Palace.