Man United target Frenkie de Jong produces a fascinating piece of play for Barcelona

On Sunday night, De Jong proved himself – scoring the final goal – in Barca’s 6-0 Joan Gamper Trophy thrashing of Pumas’ UNAM.

He came on as a substitute and returned to his usual midfield position after a series of appearances as a centre-back.

And one game in particular had the fans staring, De Jong showing that he is levels above United’s current midfielders.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

He received the ball from Jordi Alba and was immediately put under pressure from Barca legend and former teammate Dani Alves.

But he turned his body beautifully to send Alves (39) back to Sevilla with a deft turn. He then proceeded to drive through the midfielder, breeze past another opponent before playing a brilliant defence-splitting pass which should have given the hosts a goal.

Earlier, Fred and McTominay were well below par as Erik ten Hags United lost 2-1 at home to Brighton in their first game of the season.

And if they weren’t already, United fans are well aware of the stark contrast in quality:

De Jong rounded off the scoring in the 84th minute, adding goals from Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

United, meanwhile, finished their first outing of the new campaign with Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek in midfield.

“McTominay was always trying to run with the ball, ridiculous,” he said on Premier League productions.

“The quality in the middle of the pitch was really bad.

– I was glad he wasn’t expelled [for a high challenge] but I think he was a bit lucky. Again, he runs with the ball, absolutely ridiculous. It could easily have been a red card. The quality in the middle of the pitch was nowhere near good enough, but we have seen that in recent years with these two players.

“With Fred and McTominay, he [Ten Hag] have to go with just one of them, but even one of them is probably too many.

“Fred gives the ball away all the time and McTominay tries to run with the ball constantly and then gives it away. Give it to your best players! It is not that difficult. It is criminal on a day like today.”

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