Van de Beek admits mentor Grevink 'really proud of me' over Man Utd move

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Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek has spoken of how he first joined Ajax.

As youngsters, he and his younger brother Rody both played for Veensche Boys and it was there that he got spotted by the man who became his friend and mentor Harm Grevink. And it was Harm, now in his 70s, who got him his break with Ajax.

“He saw me for the first time in my old club Veensche Boys and he brought me to Ajax," he told Inside United. “In the holidays I wanted to train a little bit more and I did that with him all the time. He's a special person.

"A lot of things that I did when I was younger with my football I did with him - shooting, getting fit for the pre-season, I trained a lot with him, and as a person I spoke a lot with him and he helped me a lot."

Asked what Harm thinks about Donny's recent move to Old Trafford, the 23-year-old added: "He said to me he's really proud of me and now that I have grown up he wants to see me do what I did with Ajax with United and he hopes that I can have a lot of nice experiences here."

Looking back on his early years as a player, Donny admits hard work, perseverance and belief played a key part in getting him to where he is today.

“I had a lot of ups and downs. It was not always with me going up, also sometimes I felt not so good," he explained.

“When I was younger I always had to drive a long way… I lived in a small village and it was maybe 40 minutes' drive from Amsterdam and when I was younger I was in school as well. So they were long days, 8 o'clock in the morning I was going on the bus to school and I wasn't getting home until 8 o'clock at night. But that all made me stronger."