Following the derby day nightmare, the onus is on United to perform much better tonight when they host Newcastle in the Carabao Cup round of 16. Ordinarily, the League Cup is seen as a competition where fringe players get an opportunity for much-needed minutes.
However, for one midfielder, the expectation riding on this game means his chances of playing tonight have been cut to near zero. Once the inevitable end of Donny van de Beek&aposs United career comes, there will be an inquest into how the Reds managed to drop the ball so badly on the former Ajax man.
On paper, Van de Beek would be an ideal inclusion tonight against Newcastle considering the midfield is of such concern at present. Instead, there are a handful of names more likely to start ahead of the Dutchman.
Against Crystal Palace, Van de Beek was given 20 minutes to show Ten Hag what he was missing but little has changed in his position at Old Trafford and now a January exit seems almost inevitable. Failing to feature the 26-year-old against Eddie Howe&aposs men tonight will surely be the final act in the culmination of the midfielder&aposs career.
In his place going forward will likely be a youngster who is just making his way at United currently. Kobbie Mainoo&aposs chances of featuring against Newcastle were dashed due to his involvement in the Papa John&aposs Trophy defeat to Salford City on Halloween, but in his performance he proved he was worthy of a grander stage.
Spreading the ball around with effortless ease, the teenager showed confidence above his years and is knocking on the door of a spot in the United first team. Mainoo&aposs likely absence tonight does little to help Van de Beek though and the Dutchman appears destined to ply his trade elsewhere in the New Year.