Manchester United are currently in the process of deciding on their next manager, with a number of candidates being interviewed. the Manchester Evening News understands Erik ten Hag has been approached about the position and although talks went well, United want to complete the process before making a final decision.
While Mauricio Pochettino remains a realistic option, the United fans have rallied in favor of Ten Hag. In recent a survey, 64.7 per cent of MEN readers (from 21,000 replies) wanted the Dutch manager to be in the dugout at Old Trafford next season, with the Argentine mustering just 6.3 per cent of votes.
But why is Ten Hag the favored choice among United fans? And could he have some flaws that could potentially cause him issues along the way? Let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives of his potential appointment from him.
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Pro-He’s the up and coming manager
United have been accused of being behind the curve for many years now but appointing Ten Hag would see them secure one of the hottest managerial properties in Europe. United have missed out on managers at a similar point in their careers before, most notably Jurgen Klopp and Pochettino.
Now, some will say that he is 52 and older than Pep Guardiola, so can we really call him up and coming? It’s a fair point, but he is the best option when you consider the managers of clubs who are a step below United and that is what fans mean when they refer to him as a prospect.
Con – He’s struggled in the past with in-game management
As mentioned in a previous article detailing an interview with former Ajax manager Aad de Mos, Ten Hag has made mistakes with his Ajax team, having failed to rotate his players effectively and not using his substitutes correctly. Many United fans have been critical of previous managers such as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for making similar errors.
This could be to do with a slump in quality within the squad, with Ajax failing to sign Steven Bergwijn from Tottenham Hotspur in January. But it is something United fans should keep in mind going forward.
Pro – He plays a clearly-defined, modern brand of attacking football
United fans have had it rough. All they want their team to do is play good football, be coached well and try to win. But the managers that they have had don’t reflect that.
Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal are both great coaches but their style of football could not be defined as attacking. Solskjaer offered attacking football but there was no clear plan or style. Ten Hag would hopefully be able to strike the balance that United fans have been crying out for.
Con – He needs to be backed
This wouldn’t be an issue at most clubs, but United fans have lost faith in the club’s footballing operation following the reign of Ed Woodward. The hope is that Richard Arnold, with the help of John Murtough and Darren Fletcher, will be able to change that.
Ten Hag’s style of football is very specific and so he’ll need to recruit players who can carry out his orders. If United are unable to sign said players, the Dutchman will be facing an uphill battle.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.