Football News

“He has a clear philosophy” — Steve McClaren compares Man Utd target Erik ten Hag to Sir Alex Ferguson

By Ben Green

"He has a clear philosophy" — Steve McClaren compares Man Utd target Erik ten Hag to Sir Alex Ferguson

Published: 14:23, 1 April 2022

Former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren believes the club would be getting a coach in the mould of Sir Alex Ferguson if they appoint Erik ten Hag to succeed Ralf Rangnick in the summer.

The hunt for Man Utd’s next permanent manager has been a source of much intrigue since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked earlier this campaign and Rangnick was drafted in on an interim basis to steady the ship, with the German ultimately moving into an advisory role once the season finishes.

Plenty of names have been bandied about in the last few months, not least Mauricio Pochettino, a long-term target of the club, Thomas Tuchel, owing to Chelsea’s off-the-field uncertainties, and Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui, who recently ruled himself out of the soon-to-be-vacant position.

One name that has been in the limelight since Solskjaer was relieved of his duties last year is Ajax tactician Erik ten Hag, who is thought that have already held “positive” talks with the club over a proposed deal that would see him take the Old Trafford reins in the summer.

With speculation gaining considerable traction, McClaren has now given his two cents on the Dutch coach, believing the so-called “Mini-Guardiola” is cut from the same tactical cloth as Ferguson, and saying he would instil a clear philosophy back into the club.

When discussing the tactical trends of Ten Hag to The Telegraph, McClaren eluded to his former boss when he commented: “The only other one I would have seen do that? That would have been the gaffer.

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“He has a clear philosophy of how he wants to play football; the environment he wants to create. The player progression programme was a key part of Twente. He has done that at Ajax too, for each player from the academy to the first team.

“You look at Hakim Ziyech and now the [Brazilian] striker Antony, a very good player who will be the next one to go. I have seen this Ajax team and it’s very good. Erik is very disciplined and people have to buy into that and have that work ethic.

“Tactically he’s outstanding. He worked with Pep [Guardiola] at Bayern Munich and took in his philosophy too. They called him ‘Mini Pep’ out there. He’s ready. A lot of top clubs in Germany and England will be out to get him.”