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.”
Very excited to be the newest edition of the #MUFC family. Your enthusiastic responses to my announcement make me feel at home already! Can’t wait to join the team in Manchester.
But first… focus on the Dutch Squad in preparation for the upcoming Nations League matches. pic.twitter.com/FIUAwed0FA
— Donny van de Beek (@Donny_beek6) September 3, 2020
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.”