Erik ten Hag's Man Utd in-tray
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Manchester United urged Erik ten Hag to consider having Mike Phelan as his assistant before they agreed to let Steve McClaren return, according to reports. The 61-year-old previously worked at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson. And, now, he’s heading back as the Red Devils look to win the Premier League title for the first time since 2013.
Manchester United will be bringing McClaren back as they look to rebuild under Ten Hag.
It’s been a horrendous campaign for the Red Devils who, with one left game to play, still have work to do in order to qualify for the Europa League.
Ten Hag has been named as their new boss and previously worked with McClaren at FC Twente, where he served under the 61-year-old as an assistant.
Now, the roles are set to be reversed as the Dutchman plots a way to bring the glory days back to the fallen Premier League giants.
And The Athletic say that United were initially unsure about McClaren when Ten Hag first proposed that he join his coaching staff.
It’s claimed they instead urged their new boss to consider Phelan, who has been marginalised ever since the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim boss.
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The 59-year-old was a key ally to Ferguson during his spell in the dugout and was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant prior to the Norwegian’s sacking back in November.
Yet Ten Hag apparently ‘stood firm’ to ensure he got his way.
The new United boss thinks McClaren would be an ‘important appointment’ while Eric Ramsay is primed to stay as well.
Regarding Phelan, the publication states that his position at United ahead of the new regime is up in the air.
But it’s also possible the former Ferguson and Solskjaer No 2 will stay to ‘add another layer to experience’.
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McClaren has been hired because Ten Hag wanted somebody with knowledge of English football to help him adapt following his arrival from Ajax.
And how his second spell at Old Trafford works out remains to be seen.
McClaren won’t be the only person joining United’s coaching staff at a time where Chris Armas and Ewan Sharp are likely to leave the club.
The Red Devils have also reached an agreement with Ajax for Mitchell van der Gaag, who has worked under Ten Hag during his time in Amsterdam.
And it seems he’s putting friendly faces around him as he gears up for the start of the hardest job of his career.
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Regarding McClaren, Rio Ferdinand has opened up on the 61-year-old and what he can bring to United.
Some have doubts over the move, especially given he’s endured troublesome spells with England, Newcastle and Derby during his managerial career.
But Ferdinand thinks McClaren will be a good appointment, saying on his YouTube channel: “I think he is coming in as a coach, a shoulder to lean on, somebody who can give advice at the right times. Maybe eyes and ears.
“In terms of judging him from his management in previous years gone by, I don’t think it’s irrelevant.
“What you do get with Steve McClaren is someone who is a football man, loves that game, is so enthusiastic, meticulous, cares about the details.
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“Not just from a football point of view but also mentally, and he understands what it takes at Man Utd to win. That’s important.”
And Ferdinand added: “I think he will be a good addition.
“What’s good for Ten Hag is that they have already got a relationship from before which is pure and he will be able to steer him in the right direction.
“I don’t care who you are or where you come from, when you come to Man Utd, especially if you haven’t been at a club like that, of that statute and that size – Ajax are a big club with all due respect but not the size of Man Utd – when you do come into the door here, it takes a bit of getting used to.
“To have that little bit of help immediately is a real good decision from him.”
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