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Paul Parker: “Donny van de Beek was bought by a sporting director who plays online FIFA”

Paul Parker on Manchester United

We sat down with the former Manchester United and England star, Paul Parker, to discuss how Manchester United are doing at this moment in time. During the interview he talked about, among others. Ivan Toney, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and the upcoming game against Newcastle. 

Donny van de Beek hasn’t really got his breakthrough in Manchester United, and Parker believes that he was signed at the wrong time. Parker makes it very clear that Man United was in turmoil when he arrived, which made it very difficult for the dutchman. 

“Donny van de Beek was bought by a sporting director or a wanna-be-person who plays online, who plays FIFA football and knows the players. In theory, he doesn’t because he hasn’t done his homework.”

“Donny van de Beek is one of those players that looked good in an Ajax team in that Champions League period, but Manchester United is the biggest club in the world.  And he’s come there and he’s suddenly realised this is just too big of a club for him. He just came there as a rabbit in headlamps.”

“The club was in turmoil at the time they bought van de Beek and during his time in Man United he has been mixed with all different managers. He came at the wrong time.”

“He arrived at the club in a period where fruit and vegetables were mixed in the same dish, and it doesn’t really work, does it? There was no organisation and it’s a shame really, because he looks like a lovely lad.”

Donny van de Beek

Man United are allegedly targeting Ivan Toney, but according to Paul Parker he is not the centre-forward Man United should be looking for. He is making clear that he thinks it is just the player’s agent who is trying to make some interest out of the Brentford player. 

“I don’t believe that rumour is true. I think he’s not the centre-forward that ten Hag and Manchester United are looking for. Maybe the player’s agent is working to try and get a bit of interest again.”

“Ivan Toney is having a quiet patch at the moment, a very quiet patch in club form. So, it’s just a profile chasing one for me. There’s a lot of other centre-forwards I would say interests Manchester United more than Ivan Toney.”

“In the Championship he was very good, very clever. The Premier League is obviously a step up, and he had a spell last season where he was very good. He hasn’t gone so well this season like Brentford hasn’t gone well.”

“And sometimes players do believe the hype and they look at themselves, maybe Ivan Toney has gone a little bit on his own.”

Marco Asensio has recently been linked to Man United, and Parker thinks he could be a good addition to the squad, even though he thinks that it will be very difficult to prepare making transfers before the World Cup has been played. 

“Maybe there’s that Real Madrid connection now with Varane, Casemiro, and Ronaldo. I can see why they want him because he’s a really dynamic player.”

“He is a good player and could be a great addition to the squad, but I think it is really difficult to prepare for these transfers because the World Cup is coming up.”

“There will be players who are selling themselves, and there might also be players who all of the sudden will perform well at the World Cup and suddenly will be wanted by all the big clubs in the world.”

“On the other hand there will be players who will disappoint and because of that will no longer be a target for the club.”

Anthony Martial got injured again, and Parker is heavily criticising Anthony Martial for not having a high enough pain barrier. He believes that Anthony Martial will have a very tough time with finding a new club because no one wants to touch him. 

“I don’t think Martial realises how important it is for him to stay fit and just go through the pain barrier. Going through that pain barrier might just take him mentally through this cycle he’s going through of playing one or two and then being injured again. It’s great when you get a big contract sitting behind you, then you can just sit back injured and enjoy your life.”

“He is doing himself no favours personally. Which club wants to touch him in the future? His next contract is gonna be injury-related because no clubs can rely on a player who just suddenly stops playing because he feels a twinge.”

“A normal working man with a normal job would wake up in the morning, have a sniff and feel something and then sneeze in the morning. Does that mean he shouldn’t go to work? No, it doesn’t. He must still go to work, he knows how important it is.”

Parker has previously spoken about that Alejandro Garnacho deserves the chance to play, and he still believes that he is better than the other wide players at the club. Besides that Parker said that Garnacho reminds him of a young Ryan Giggs. 

“Alejandro Garnacho hasn’t yet been given an opportunity. There might be an opportunity for him against Omonia Nicosia. There should be an opportunity in that game because the wide players at United haven’t proved themself.”

“Sancho, Rashford, and Martial haven’t done it on a consistent basis. When he gets his opportunity, he plays with a fire in his belly, wanting to go and beat people.”

“He doesn’t want to do tricks with no purpose or any progression. He reminds me of a very young Ryan Giggs when Ryan was 17, he just wants to beat people, and there’s nothing wrong in wanting to beat people. Managers love that.”

“If you want players who maybe take things on themselves, play off the cuff, improvise, and I think he’s got that about him. He should be given an opportunity with the team in the recent shape, it’s a good time to come in.”

Jadon Sancho has been struggling to find the level he showed in Borussia Dortmund, and Parker thinks that players who come from the Bundesliga in general have had a really tough time in the Premier League. Parker added that Sancho should be sitting on the bench for Man United and shouldn’t be in the World Cup squad. 

“When you look at the number of players that come from the Bundesliga, there haven’t been many players that really have cracked it. The percentage is very, very low from the Bundesliga.”

“I would say that the Bundesliga is a forced league in a certain way. Someone would come and say look at Haaland. But he is a very extraordinary example.”

“Sancho had more space on the ball when he played in the Bundesliga. He wasn’t double-teamed.”

“Sancho doesn’t seem like he wants to go past people, doesn’t want to run without the ball, to run behind people, and to threaten the space behind them.”

“He needs to sit out for a while. You keep playing him and yes, he scored goals, but as I keep saying, goals cover over cracks.”

“And everyone is talking about him being in the England squad. It seems like propaganda from the media, when they are writing that he should be in the squad for the World Cup.”

Man United are facing Newcastle in the next Premier League match, and Bruno Guimarães is the one that Man United should be especially aware of according to Parker. 

“Bruno Guimarães is the one I have been most impressed by. He is the one that is scoring goals, and creating goals as well.”

“The midfield players from Newcastle are going to embarrass our players with their technical ability, with their passing ability, and with their willingness to want to work hard. Which is a shame, because Manchester United should be at the same level.”

“They got really decent players at this moment in time, but I still would always expect Manchester United to beat Newcastle at Old Trafford.”

“But there is a lot of euphoria at this moment with Newcastle. Regardless of what division they are in and where they are, they still cover their seats.”

“But I do believe that the owners of Newcastle want a big-name manager. That is the mentally in that part of the world that the owners are from. Because they believe if they get a big-name manager, they get big-name players which could sell the product even better.”

Looking at the game against Newcastle, Parker thinks that Eriksen, Casemiro and Martinez will be the most important players. Parker also thinks that Ronaldo should start the game instead of Rashford, because the Portuguese love these big games. 

“Well, not so many players can play well for Manchester United at the moment. You always know what you are going to get from Eriksen, Casemiro and Martinez.”

“They are players who could perform well in these big games, because they are big game players.”

“Ronaldo could obviously also be important if he plays. And I definitely think that Ronaldo should play instead of Rashford. Because, Ronaldo, all his career is about playing in big games.”

Antony has scored in his first three Premier League games, and Parker has been quite impressed by the Dutchman so far. He has adapted way better to the Premier League than Jadon Sancho, he says. We asked Paul Parker if Antony has already proven to be worth the money Man United paid for the winger. 

“I am going to say yes to that. He is scoring goals. I definitely think Antony is going in the right direction. He is scoring really important goals at the moment, but I still want to see more from his side, even though he has impressed me so far.” 

“I think every United fan would say at least that about him. I couldn’t see any United fans saying no, he is wrong, or anybody saying negative things about him at this moment in time.”

“But I would like to compare him with Jadon Sancho and the price tag he has around his neck. Sancho was a few million less than Antony, but there were both over 70 million, and Antony has adapted in a better way than Sancho already.”

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Raj was born and raised in Nagpur, Rajesh moved to Pune to pursue a degree in the English Language at Savitribai Phule Pune University. Having a knack for writing from a very young age, he naturally excelled in his studies and decided to dip his toes in content editing, as well. Now, a full-time Editor, he enjoys spending his free time watching IPL and badminton matches and writing his first novel. His favourite sport is cricket and he believes cricket is life. But I’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional badminton player, so badminton is also at the top of my list. His biggest win is Saina Nehwal’s bronze at the 2016 Olympics landed him a brand new laptop after his bet on the winning margin came through. His biggest goal is meeting Saina Nehwal and telling her about his biggest win.