Former Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk says Donny van de Beek is not “suddenly a bad footballer” and blamed his Manchester United teammates for his struggles at Old Trafford.
United signed the Dutchman for £35million in the summer, but with regular game time in short supply, his future with the club is already in doubt.
Van Marwijk, who was manager of the Dutch national side between 2008 and 2012, has said in his column for De Telegraaf: “I think Donny van den Beek is an excellent football player.
“He has excellent functional technique and despite his young age, he already has the insight to usually make the right choices. He also has a great running ability.
“So, I understand that Manchester United paid him some £35m last summer. Only he plays far too little. On Sunday he was again on the bench for 90 minutes in the top match against Chelsea.
“How is that possible? Van de Beek is not suddenly a bad football player or someone who could not handle the level. I think that is why it is not a matter of too little quality, but that other things are also involved in a different environment.
“The same position play that made him so strong at Ajax is not there at Manchester United.
“There, the spaces he is looking for between midfield and defence of the opposing team are missing or his team-mates let the moment pass by. His well-timed runs are not recognised there. So, this is also the problem for him.
“He is an excellent player, but at the same time he is dependent on his team-mates and the position play that brings his team to the pitch.
“In order to succeed and survive abroad, it seems that something else is necessary. Then you will also have to have or develop other qualities.
“If your team-mates overlook you and the game is not aligned with you, you will also need to be able to find your way. Then that good team player will have to think more about themselves and also have the technical and tactical qualities to make the difference on their own.”