Manchester United welcomed back 30,000 fans at Old Trafford for their friendly against Brentford. Those in attendance witnessed Andreas Pereira’s volley, perhaps one of the best goals seen at the Stretford End. But few in the crowd might’ve also noticed Donny van de Beek’s bulked-up physique.
At Carrington, Van de Beek’s work in the gym is being recognised, and so is his determination to reignite his United career, as per the Athletic.
In his maiden season in England, the Ajax academy product’s physicality didn’t level up to the Premier League standard. As such, ahead of his second campaign, the Dutchman took the decision to build a larger frame, developing a ‘plan to gain lean muscle’.
The appearance against Brentford showed his collaboration with United’s medical team and conditioning coaches is going as per plan so far. Even Harry Maguire cheekily commented “Don’t stretch that armband, @donnyvdbeek.” after the match.
His teammates are also allegedly ‘speaking privately’ about Van de Beek’s transformation. On the training field, the 24-year-old seems more robust and confident to his colleagues.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly considering using a 4-3-3 formation, and with Paul Pogba linked with Paris Saint-Germain, the Norwegian tactician might’ve a ready-made replacement available in Van de Beek. With a defensive midfielder behind him as a cover, he can flourish in a box-to-box role alongside Bruno Fernandes.
A potential new system and a transformed physique is bound to help Van de Beek ape his Champions League heroics with Ajax at the Theatre of Dreams.