"It's nice for some commentators to have a little go," said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as another news conference turned into a discussion about a player not in his recent plans.

The "commentator" in question was probably Marco van Basten, the Netherlands and Ajax great who is perhaps the most authoritative voice wondering aloud why Donny van de Beek can't get a game for Manchester United.

Since signing from Ajax for an initial £34.7million in September, Van de Beek has played 61 minutes in England's top flight, all of them as a substitute. Even with Paul Pogba restricted largely to the role of impact-sub, with post-COVID-19 fitness concerns still a problem, Van de Beek appears below Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay and Fred in the midfield pecking order, and that's despite scoring a goal on his Old Trafford debut.

Solskjaer made it clear the Netherlands international will get his chance and he handed him a first start in all competitions against RB Leipzig on Wednesday. Perhaps that first league start will come this weekend against Arsenal; maybe Solskjaer will give in to curiosity and start Van de Beek, Pogba and Fernandes together.

Could such a system work?

TRIO TROUBLES

Part of Solskjaer's problem here is obvious: Van de Beek, Fernandes and Pogba are midfielders with similar technical qualities, so fitting them all in the same line-up is a challenge. Their average positions in league football last season, for instance, are all neatly within the centre circle.

The issue is heightened by Solskjaer's preferred formations.

Solskjaer tends to favour a 3-4-1-2, such as he did in the 2-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain, when United face stronger opponents who expect to have more possession. That formation allows Fernandes to play as a number 10 and speeds up the transitions to counter-attacks, but it also depends on ball-winners covering the ground behind him. Against PSG, that pairing was Fred and McTominay, and it worked well – they won six free-kicks and regained possession 14 times between them. Van de Beek came on with 88 minutes gone for a tiring Fernandes.

When Solskjaer switches to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, as is his preference for most Premier League matches, the stability of the midfield relies on at least one of Fred, McTominay or Nemanja Matic as the anchor while Pogba and Fernandes are given more freedom to roam. Should Van de Beek slot into this line-up, United would sacrifice a more defensive-minded player, which could put the back four at risk of runners bearing down on them, as was their undoing in home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham.

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE

So prevails the conventional wisdom, anyway. But Van de Beek could be better suited to these systems than it appears if Solskjaer decides to be bold.

Van de Beek's attacking strengths are clear. Last season in the Eredivisie, he managed the same number of shots (44) as Fernandes did in the Premier League, at an average of 2.1 per game (down on Fernandes' 3.3, but higher than Pogba's 1.6).

In his 23 appearances, he got eight goals – again, level with Fernandes – and five assists from a hugely impressive 41 chances created. In terms of open play, Van de Beek outperformed Fernandes (1.7) with chances created on average per 90 minutes (1.9). His average passes in the opposition half were at 29.9, well down on Pogba (47.2) and Fernandes (45.6), but Van de Beek had well over double the number of touches in the opposition box per 90 (7.8) than either of his new team-mates.

That paints a picture of Van de Beek in a box-to-box role, one that would suit one side of a 4-3-3 or a forward position in a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-1-2. Where, then, would the defensive balance come from? Well, from Van de Beek.

His 46 Eredivisie tackles last season gave him an average of 2.2 per game, greater than Fernandes (1.7) or the deeper-lying Pogba (1.6). He also outperformed those two for interceptions (16) and possession won (111), although his average per 90 minutes for each were similar to Fernandes.

Van de Beek also averaged 42.7 passes per 90 minutes in the league in the 2019-20 season but with a higher accuracy than Fernandes (82.3 compared to 75.7). A player capable of winning back the ball and retaining it as he can would offer a sufficient level of defensive stability alongside Pogba and Fernandes, particularly with his positional nous, in games where United expect to control the ball. And Pogba is accomplished in a deeper role, anyway: he played 30 passes in his own half per 90 minutes in the league last season, and 47 in the opponents' half. He can influence proceedings at both ends by holding position while Van de Beek and Fernandes are given free rein, knowing the Dutchman will be willing to track back and cover.

EXCHANGE POLICY

If a Pogba-Donny-Bruno set-up is to work, though, they need to start functioning together as a passing unit.

In the second half of last season, when Pogba was fit again and Fernandes firing after his January arrival, the duo combined effectively in United's league run-in. They exchanged 129 passes in 661 minutes on the pitch together, creating seven chances for each other and each providing an assist. Those are encouraging numbers from the early months of a partnership.

This season, though, they have exchanged 38 passes in 230 minutes, indicating a slight drop in their link play, and neither has yet created a goalscoring chance for the other.

Van de Beek has only made four passes to Fernandes and two to Pogba but, for a player to play just 61 minutes, that's not too surprising. It does, though, indicate the need for each to get used to the others' ways of working if a strong midfield trio is ever likely to be formed.

That said, of the seven passes Fernandes has ever played to Van de Beek in the Premier League, one created a goalscoring chance. If that ratio continues, there are strong odds Van de Beek will turn performances into regular goals and force Solskjaer's hand when it comes to his team sheet.

Donny van de Beek has a big part to play this season and his lack of minutes so far only highlights Manchester United's lofty ambitions, according to boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Netherlands international has yet to start a Premier League game for United since joining from Ajax at the start of the season in a deal that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

He was an unused substitute in Saturday's goalless draw with Chelsea and has barely an hour of football to his name across four league matches this term.

Dutch great Marco van Basten this week became the latest high-profile figure to question his compatriot's decision to join United, having also been linked with Real Madrid.

But speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with RB Leipzig, Solskjaer once again stressed Van de Beek remains a part of his long-term plans.

"When players come into a new league, new team, it is always going to be a time for adaption," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference.

"Donny has played well when he has played. It says a lot about our depth of quality that we don't have to use him every game. I also think it says a lot about our ambitions.

"We want to push on and challenge for trophies. Donny will play a big, big part this year. I know the topic is about Donny van de Beek.

"It's nice for some players or commentators to have a go, and I know you're short for time on TV and have to put points across quickly.

"But you don't have to start the first three games to be an important player. I'd be disappointed if my team-mates said I wasn't important because I didn't start many games.

"Donny will be very important for us, don't worry about that."

Solskjaer also named Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic on the bench for the stalemate against Chelsea, with Fred and Scott McTominay getting the nod behind Bruno Fernandes.

The midweek visit of Leipzig presents the Norwegian with another opportunity to rotate in midfield as United look to build on their 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in last week's Group H opener.

"It's going to be a long season. The depth of our squad is better now. To leave players out like Donny, Nemanja and Paul... they're all experienced international footballers," Solskjaer said.

"It's not easy. But we have so many games and they will all play a massive part in different periods. Nobody can play every game.

"When you put 11 together they have to work together as a team. Is it two or three in midfield? Who is on form, who needs a break?"

Solskjaer, who won 12 trophies during an 11-season playing career at Old Trafford, added: "I've been part of a successful Man United team myself.

"We had two players in every position. The more successful teams, the teams that win trophies, they have competition for places. It's not easy, it's very difficult.

"I don't feel pressure. Pressure is getting results. I've got to plan the next three or four games - we need to win more than just the next one. It's a nice problem to have.

"I'd rather have that than play players who are not ready for the Premier League."

McTominay started last week's win at the Parc des Princes and echoed the thoughts of his manager with regards to Van de Beek's limited playing time so far.

"I'm confident he will be an important figure. He has lifted everyone else along with the other new boys - top signings who can lift the dressing room," he said.

"We saw that in Paris, with the performances of Donny and Alex [Telles]. There's no time to panic - people are quick to come to quick assumptions. Let him settle into his new house and concentrate on playing."

United are unbeaten in their last 10 home matches against German sides in European competition, winning seven and drawing three of those, with their last such defeat coming at the hands of Bayern Munich in April 2001.

Donny van de Beek should not have joined Manchester United as he struggles for game time at Old Trafford, insisted Dutch great Marco van Basten.

Van de Beek is yet to start a Premier League match for United after arriving from Eredivisie champions Ajax at the start of the season in a deal that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

An unused substitute in Saturday's goalless draw with Chelsea, Van de Beek has only played 60 minutes of football in four Premier League matches amid growing doubts in Manchester.

Van de Beek, who was previously tipped to join Real Madrid, played the final two minutes of United's Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, while the 23-year-old started both EFL Cup games, having scored off the bench in the club's Premier League opener.

Legendary former Ajax, Milan and Netherlands striker Van Basten discussed Van de Beek's situation at the Theatre of Dreams.

"Donny should not have gone to Manchester United," Van Basten said on Ziggo Sport' 'Rondo'. "When you are a good player you want to play every week.

"It is really bad for a player like Donny to play only six or seven games this year. That is shocking for your match rhythm.

"I know he is earning loads and loads more than he used to.

"But as a top player you have to be critical and look at the chances of playing when you sign for a new club.

"Donny should have waited for better prospects and signed for another club."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield options include stars Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.

Solskjaer has preferred a midfield duo of Fred and McTominay just behind Fernandes in games against Chelsea, PSG and Newcastle United, with Pogba on the bench.

In his limited Premier League minutes, Van de Beek has a passing accuracy of 83.33 per cent – better than Pogba and Fernandes, while his chances created – one – is the same amount as Pogba, Fred and Matic.

United host RB Leipzig in Champions League action on Wednesday, before welcoming Arsenal to Manchester in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Red Devils are 15th in the Premier League through five matchdays, six points off the pace.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Axel Tuanzebe for his display against Paris Saint-Germain and backed the defender to have a long and successful career at Manchester United.

Academy product Tuanzebe earned rave reviews for stifling Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at the Parc des Princes.

The 22-year-old was playing for the first time in 10 months after battling back from injury and started on the right of a three-man defence, alongside Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw.

He made an unrivalled seven clearances – Layvin Kurzawa and Scott McTominay's four being the next best total on the pitch – and won both of his aerial duels in an impressive defensive performance in Paris.

Solskjaer has now challenged Tuanzebe, who has previously spent time on loan at Aston Villa, to maintain that level to become a first-team regular at Old Trafford.

"It was a great performance by a kid who's not played for 10 months," he said. "I'm delighted for him because he is such a professional character.

"He wants everything, he works really hard, has been really, really thorough in his rehab, and I am very pleased for him.

"Now it's about getting consistency in his performances – he's also got to stay injury-free, so we have to manage that.

"That's my job, his job and the physio staff's job, of course. But I think he can kick on."

Tuanzebe has made 10 Premier League appearances for United since his debut in January 2017 and has averaged 2.19 interceptions per game in that time.

That is more than any other current United player, with Eric Bailly (2.11) and Harry Maguire (1.93) next best from 44 and 42 games respectively.

He also tops the charts in terms of his tackle-success rate, albeit from far fewer matches than his team-mates, all of which Solskjaer believes stands him in good stead.

"He can do most things and is such a leader," Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday's home league meeting with Chelsea.

"He can play right-back, centre-back, central midfield – he can play many positions and he's a boy who takes responsibility for his own development 

"I'm sure he's doing everything he can to have a long career at United. So hopefully we can get that consistency."

Donny van de Beek is another who will be hoping to start this weekend as United look to win three straight top-flight meetings against Chelsea for the first time since 1965.

The Netherlands international has been restricted to four substitute appearances in the Premier League so far and Solskjaer reiterated the importance of giving him more time to settle.

"Donny is fit enough but of course it's about competition for places," he said. "It's about giving him time to settle in and adjust to his new team-mates. It's a new league.

"He's an absolutely top footballer and top personality. So humble and hardworking, but also he's of course eager to play more. 

"You'll see him throughout the season – it's going to be a long, long season and you'll see him. He has impressed me."

Donny van de Beek will bring quality to Manchester United if they give him enough time to settle, former Ajax team-mate Hakim Ziyech says.

The Red Devils signed the midfielder for an initial £34.7million (€39m) in September, but the 23-year-old has found playing time hard to come by at the start of his career in England.

His two starts have come in the EFL Cup against Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion, and he has managed only 60 minutes in total off the bench in the Premier League.

Van de Beek was also only a late substitute in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, with Fred and Scott McTominay preferred in central midfield behind Bruno Fernandes.

The Netherlands international, who recorded 40 goals and 29 assists in 133 games over his final three seasons at Ajax, has managed just one shot, one chance created and two passes into the attacking third in his short Premier League career.

 Ziyech, who has also struggled for game time – mostly due to fitness – since joining Chelsea from Ajax this year, says Van de Beek must "stay calm" and wait for his chance.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's trip to United on Saturday, Ziyech said: "We spoke at the beginning when he moved to Manchester, and in the last [few] weeks, we didn't speak a lot. And I didn't speak with him about his situation.

"I think he will need time as well. You come from a different country, a different style of play. And I know for sure, it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything, and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there. For him, the most important [thing] right now is to stay calm."

Ziyech, who made his long-awaited Chelsea debut in the 3-3 draw with Southampton last week, also faces a battle to get a starting spot.

Chelsea spent in the region of £222m in the transfer window and Ziyech is now competing with Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount for a spot in Frank Lampard's attacking midfield positions.

"For us, it's everything new and we're excited to work with each other and the rest of the team, and bring each other competition," he said.

"I think it's good for everybody to make each other better, helping each other. I think that's the most important and for us now, when we arrived, it's time to improve and to perform for the things we came for."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Donny van de Beek will get game time as he tries to balance his starting XI.

Van de Beek came off the bench as struggling United overturned an early deficit to rout Newcastle United 4-1 in Premier League action on Saturday.

The Netherlands international swapped Ajax for United before the transfer window closed amid much fanfare but he is yet to start a league match for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer resisted calls to start Van de Beek following United's 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham prior to the international break – the Dutch midfielder replacing Daniel James 14 minutes from the end at St James' Park.

Asked about Van de Beek as he attempts to accommodate Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay, Solskjaer told reporters: "He'll get his game time. He's been fantastic in the group.

"I think you see today and in training, he's so neat and tidy, I don't think he lost the ball once.

"It's about finding the balance in the team. We've won 4-1 today and you're asking why I didn't start one of the players.

"He'll have a very good impact on the team."

Under-fire United captain Harry Maguire headed in a 23rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Shaw's second-minute own goal before Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford scored during the closing stages.

The Red Devils had lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures before enjoying their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in England's top flight – the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, per Opta.

United are 14th in the Premier League table through four games, seven points adrift of leaders Everton.

Solskjaer's United will open their Champions League campaign at last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Donny van de Beek scored his first Netherlands goal in a 1-1 draw with Italy that saw both teams lose ground to Poland in Nations League Group A1.

Lorenzo Pellegrini polished off a lovely move to put Italy in front in Bergamo on Wednesday, before Manchester United midfielder Van de Beek opened his international account in his 14th cap.

Neither side was unable to find a winner in the second half, with Roberto Mancini's men extending their unbeaten run to 19 games – 16 in competitive matches – and denying Frank de Boer a first victory in charge of the Netherlands.

Poland now sit in pole position to advance to the Nations League Finals following a 3-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, piling the pressure on Italy and the Netherlands.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Donny Van de Beek could feature prominently on the left side of Manchester United's midfield due to being such a "clever mover".

Van de Beek joined United as their only pre-season signing earlier this month, costing the club a reported £35million (€39m) from Ajax.

The 23-year-old had made his name in Amsterdam as an attack-minded midfielder who was also capable of playing a box-to-box role, given his useful combination of stamina and technical proficiency.

Upon joining United it seemed as though he would most likely be used as back-up to Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, an assessment since lent credence by the fact that pair started both of the club's first two Premier League matches while Van de Beek was left on the bench.

He came on as a substitute in each top-flight game, though that was not enough to spare United from criticism courtesy of his impatient agent.

But in the EFL Cup Van de Beek has made two starts and set up Juan Mata with a clever flick in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion shortly after being pushed into an advanced role on the left to make room for Pogba after he replaced the ineffective Daniel James.

"He's got very high footballing intelligence and, tactically, he's gone through the Ajax system. Dutch football is tactical, he knows football, he's got his head screwed on," Solskjaer said when asked if Van de Beek could play more regularly from the flank.

"He's a different type of left-sided player compared to Dan James and Marcus Rashford, but coming inside and finding good pockets, why not? He can play loads of different positions, which sometimes is a strength for a player.

"I remember myself sometimes, right-wing, left-wing, centre forward, No. 10 – Donny is one the coach will always look to have in a squad."

Regarding the recent outburst of Van de Beek's agent, who specifically drew issue with the fact the Dutchman only came on in stoppage time during the dramatic 3-2 Premier League win over Brighton, Solskjaer was unconcerned and adamant the Netherlands international will see plenty of football.

"We know how many games we're going to play and he's going to be vital," Solskjaer added. "He's proved in every game he's been a part of that he's got high quality, he's such a clever mover.

"He plays the game simply but effectively, with high quality. He's knocking on the door."

Juan Mata hailed Donny van de Beek for his "very clever" assist in Manchester United's win against Brighton and Hove Albion and says he loves playing in the same side as his new team-mate.

Van de Beek, signed from Ajax last month in a deal rising to £49million, played in Mata for United's second goal in Wednesday's EFL Cup last-16 tie with a delightful backheeled pass.

Having also teed up Scott McTominay for the visitors' first-half opener at the Amex Stadium, Mata has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 starts for the club.

The Spaniard was named as the sponsors' man of the match but he was quick to praise Van de Beek for his part in what proved to be a routine victory for United.

"It was a very clever assist. He's a very clever player," Mata told Sky Sports. "I love playing with him because he finds pockets and spaces. 

"He understands football in a way that I like, which is playing one-twos, passing and moving, and the goal was like that."

United were fortunate to grab a late 3-2 Premier League win at the same venue four days ago but this victory was far more straightforward come full-time, with substitute Paul Pogba adding a third goal via a deflected free-kick.

Dean Henderson was called into action to keep out Leandro Trossard with a top-class save at 1-0, though Mata was pleased with his side's overall display on England's south coast.

"They have a great manager who tries to play attractive football. They also change the system in the game, so you have to be alert," he said. "Today I think we played really good. 

"We created chances in the second half, we had even more chances to kill the game. So we're happy today."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United are still looking to bring new players in as transfer talk swirls around Old Trafford.

United have been heavily linked with a mega money move for Borussia Dortmund's England winger Jadon Sancho.

Reports this week suggest United are ready to test the resolve of the Bundesliga club once more, with Dortmund having remained unmoved on a €120million (£108m) asking price.

"You know I can't say anything about other club's players out of respect for them. I can't speculate," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's first game of their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"We understand that to get even further, one, we need to develop what we have, two, we're also looking to strengthen the team. Let's just wait and see if we manage to bring anyone in.

"I've been in dialogue with the club. We're always discussing and hopefully, let's see if we can bring anyone in."

A report by ESPN published on Friday claimed United are frustrated by the negativity that the "social media frenzy" around their transfer activity is causing.

"Fans will always want the best possible team to watch, the best possible Man United team, and that's the passion we want and the history we have," Solskjaer said.

"We can look back 10 or 20 years and you look back at the great players we have and, for me, going forward, since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left we've been averaging fifth.

"Last season we got third, which was a big step forward. Everyone saw development - Bruno [Fernandes] coming in, Harry [Maguire] being captain and showing leadership skills, Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] did well.

"We want to take a step forward and we can go into the new season with confidence, but we're looking to give the group a boot and we're working on it."

One player Solskjaer has managed to get in the building is Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek, a £35.7m signing from Ajax

"He's a smashing boy, great personality, coming in with loads of energy and a big smile every day," he added.

"He played well against Aston Villa [a 1-0 friendly defeat last Saturday], so you're likely to see him [against Palace].

"But, of course, I'm not going to name the team here. 'll have to do that to the boys after training."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United are still looking to bring new players in as transfer talk swirls around Old Trafford.

United have been heavily linked with a mega money move for Borussia Dortmund's England winger Jadon Sancho.

Reports this week suggest United are ready to test the resolve of the Bundesliga club once more, with Dortmund having remained unmoved on a €120million (£108m) asking price.

"You know I can't say anything about other club's players out of respect for them. I can't speculate," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's first game of their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"We understand that to get even further, one, we need to develop what we have, two, we're also looking to strengthen the team. Let's just wait and see if we manage to bring anyone in.

"I've been in dialogue with the club. We're always discussing and hopefully, let's see if we can bring anyone in."

A report by ESPN published on Friday claimed United are frustrated by the negativity that the "social media frenzy" around their transfer activity is causing.

"Fans will always want the best possible team to watch, the best possible Man United team, and that's the passion we want and the history we have," Solskjaer said.

"We can look back 10 or 20 years and you look back at the great players we have and, for me, going forward, since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left we've been averaging fifth.

"Last season we got third, which was a big step forward. Everyone saw development - Bruno [Fernandes] coming in, Harry [Maguire] being captain and showing leadership skills, Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] did well.

"We want to take a step forward and we can go into the new season with confidence, but we're looking to give the group a boot and we're working on it."

One player Solskjaer has managed to get in the building is Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek, a £35.7m signing from Ajax

"He's a smashing boy, great personality, coming in with loads of energy and a big smile every day," he added.

"He played well against Aston Villa [a 1-0 friendly defeat last Saturday], so you're likely to see him [against Palace].

"But, of course, I'm not going to name the team here. 'll have to do that to the boys after training."

Donny van de Beek is relishing his "really big opportunity" to become Manchester United's next Dutch star after joining the club from Ajax.

The 23-year-old arrived at Old Trafford earlier this month on an initial five-year deal that could eventually be worth £39.1million (€44m).

He will be the 13th player from the Netherlands to represent United - a list that includes greats such as Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Edwin van der Sar.

And Van de Beek is out to write his own name in United folklore after growing up watching some of his compatriots win major honours for the club.

"I watched United a lot [when I was younger]," he told club magazine Inside United. "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, 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 looking forward to playing at Old Trafford for the first time on Saturday when United host Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener.

However, the Ajax academy product admits it will not be the same playing at the iconic stadium without any supporters present due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Old Trafford is an amazing stadium," he said. "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.

"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."

Van de Beek played a part in last weekend's friendly defeat to Aston Villa and is expected to slot straight into a youthful United XI against Palace later this week.

"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," he said. "I cannot wait to play many games with them. 

"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."

Harry Maguire will remain Manchester United captain for the coming season despite his legal case in Greece, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.

Maguire was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and repeated attempts at bribery at a misdemeanours court in Syros last month.

The 27-year-old, who denied all charges against him, was tried alongside two other defendants after an alleged incident involving police while he was on holiday on the nearby island of Mykonos.

Maguire's legal representatives lodged an appeal, meaning the court's initial verdict was nullified and a full retrial will now take place at a more senior court.

The England international, who was dropped from Gareth Southgate's Nations League squad after the guilty verdict, told the BBC he feared for his life during an apparent altercation with plain-clothed officers, saying: "I thought there was no chance these were police."

"The retrial will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence, allow witnesses into the court. I'm really confident that the truth will be told and come out," he said.

Speaking ahead of United's pre-season friendly with Aston Villa on Saturday, Solskjaer confirmed he is standing by his skipper.

"Of course, Harry, as you said, had a difficult summer," the United manager told MUTV. "He didn't have a long break. His break was different to others as we gave him a few more days and, after, he's come back and looked fine.

"He's handled it really well and, of course, I'll be here to support him. He is going to be our captain. We'll just leave Harry and his people and the process to run.

"For me, he is a top, an absolute top human being and has always been a positive guy with the right values. So I really hope we can see Harry performing at his best."

The game with Villa will be United's first since they signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax for a fee that could rise to £39.1million (€44m) - their only transfer of the window to date.

Solskjaer has been delighted with the midfielder's first few days of training and made it clear United are still scouring the market for potential deals, although the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made spending difficult for most clubs.

"He's been training only a couple of days but he's a bright, bubbly character," Solskjaer said. "He wants to learn and the first few signs are positive, not that I doubted that one because I've followed him for a few years, of course.

"He's been a talented youngster and now we felt he was ready to come here. He felt it was the best place to come so, for us, it's a good transfer.

"It's been a strange time and a strange world. Financially, I'm sure loads of clubs have suffered. It looks like it as there has not been a lot of activity in the window.

"We're always looking to improve the squad, scouting players and, if something fits, both the financial bit and the football bit, of course we'll try to make some business. But we can't know how the markets and how other clubs have been affected either."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says "not everyone can spend millions and millions" as he seemingly cast doubt on Manchester United's plans to further strengthen their squad.

United have made one signing since finishing third in the Premier League last season, bringing in Donny van de Beek from Ajax for a fee that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

Borussia Dortmund attacker Jadon Sancho is widely considered to be a primary target for Solskjaer, but United have been unable to reach an agreement with the German club.

Left-backs Sergio Reguilon and Alex Telles have also been linked, though Solskjaer is adamant his side will not pay over the odds for any targets in the current market.

"We are always looking to see if there is any way possible that we can improve this squad and bring players in that will have the right level, quality, personality and fits all the criteria," he told BBC Radio Five Live. 

"This summer and year has been a strange one and it is very important everyone understands this has an effect on football. Not everyone can spend millions and millions.

"It is never easy to have too many new players in the team, it takes time for players to gel into a unit. 

"We have seen some clubs go for the quick fix and some have trust in the process. We have to improve and get results but adding players with different qualities than we have."

When asked how many more signings he would like to make before the transfer window closes on October 5, Solskjaer said: "I never set myself a target, like scoring 20 goals as a player. 

"You just have to go day by day, making sure you develop and improve. We have a vision of where we want to get to but know so many things can come in the way. I believe in seeing how the team and club develops."

United could well go into their opening Premier League game against Crystal Palace next week with Van de Beek as their only new recruit.

Solskjaer is pleased with his side's business to date, however, with Van de Beek providing some added competition for Paul Pogba and January signing Bruno Fernandes. 

"When we signed Bruno, we knew we needed that type of player," he said. "Now we have signed Donny, he is the type of player I felt we needed in the squad and the type of person that will fit the culture and the team and will improve us for next season.

"He is a versatile player, he is clever and has plenty of energy and enthusiasm. He scores goals and that is what we need to add from midfield. 

"We need goals throughout the squad, we did not score enough to challenge at the top.

"On signing players, you use the people you know and trust, so I spoke to Ajax director of football Edwin van der Sar and our defender Timothy [Fosu-Mensah] before signing Donny."

United have had less than a month off since concluding their 2019-20 campaign with defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals.

Despite finishing his first full campaign at Old Trafford trophyless, Solskjaer is happy with the progress he has made in his 21 months at the helm.

"We are looking forward to the new season, but it has come around so quickly from last season," he said. "The preparation is very different to what we normally have, and we have to take our Europa League games as pre-season.

"We are a developing team, a year or so into our rebuild. We had to make some decisions last summer and throughout the season we have seen how this team is getting better and getting used to each other.

"I'd rather be an optimist and be wrong than be a pessimist and be right. I did think we would qualify for the Champions League but I was hoping for a trophy along the way as well."

Donny van de Beek is a top-class player and a bargain for Manchester United, according to former midfielder Darren Fletcher.

The Netherlands international has joined United from Ajax on a five-year deal for a fee that could rise to as much as £39.1million (€44m).

The midfielder said last week he already feels at home in England's north west after his arrival was heralded by fans on social media.

Fletcher, a five-time Premier League winner with United, thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first signing of the transfer window could prove to be an outstanding one.

"He's a top-class player and I think he's a fantastic signing," Fletcher told United's official website. "For somebody at his age, for that price, I think it's a no-brainer.

"I saw him during Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals last season [in 2018-19], he was probably one of the catalysts for that.

"What I like about him is his flexibility in midfield. He understands when he needs to be a number 10 and what he has to do and he understands when he has to be a box-to-box midfielder; he's got that Ajax upbringing in him and is a cultured footballer.

"I just think he's a great addition and he seems like a great guy as well, given the way he's been treated since leaving Ajax and how everyone has spoken about him. There's nothing better than having players in your team that are top players but good people as well. It definitely goes a long way."

Van de Beek adds extra competition to a United midfield already boasting plenty of options.

Solskjaer prefers to use three central midfielders, meaning Van de Beek could battle Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira for a regular starting spot.

Fletcher, though, says strength in depth is essential at a club like United.

"When I was at United we had five, six, seven midfielders fighting for two or three spots," he said. "And sometimes you got the jersey, you were the man in form and sometimes you were on the outside looking in – that's just the way it is and the way it should be at a top club.

"You should be pushing each other. You shouldn't think that you're an automatic starter, and by adding players like Donny it gives competition for places and that squad depth."

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