Meet Manchester United’s New Manager: Erik Ten Hag

Meet Manchester United’s New Manager: Erik Ten Hag

Ten Hag began his coaching career in 2012, ten years after his retirement as a player.

Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will become their new manager following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

The Ajax boss will leave his current position and become United’s 5th permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferugson departed the club in 2013.

Erik ten Hag will join Man Utd on a three-year deal (with option of a further year) in the summer.

The Dutchman replaces Ralf Rangnick, with the interim boss set to take up a consultancy role at Old Trafford.

FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about the newly appointed Manchester United manager.

Erik ten Hag was born on the 2nd of February 1970 (52 years old) in Haaksbergen, Netherlands.

Playing Career

He was a former player who played as a centre-back.
During his playing days, he represented the likes of FC Twente, De Graafschap, RKC Waalwijk and FC Utrecht.

Ten Hag won only one trophy in his playing career — the 2002 KNVB Cup with Twente.

He retired in 2002 at 32 years old.

Coaching Career

Ten Hag began his coaching career in 2012, ten years after his retirement as a player.

His first club as a manager was Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch 2nd division (Eerste Divisie).

In his first season, he led the team to secure promotion to the first division (Eredivise) for the first time in 17 years.

His next role was at Bayern Munich reserves where he worked closely with the first team manager, Pep Guardiorla.

He has spoken openly about his admiration for Pep Guardiola, admitting that the Manchester City boss has influenced his footballing philosophy.

After two years at Bayern team B, Ten Hag returned to his country, Netherlands, as Head Coach and Sporting Director at FC Utrecht in 2015.

In his first season at Utrecht, he led the team to a 5th place finish in the league and in his second season, a 4th place finish and Europa League qualification.

Erik ten Hag joined Ajax in 2017.

In the 2018/19 season, he led them to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1997. On their way to the semis, Ajax defeated giants Real Madrid and Juventus in the round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively.

In that same season (2018/19), he guided the team to a domestic double — Eredivise (league) and KNVB Cup.

Ajax were on top of the league table when the 2019/20 Dutch league season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020/21, Ten Hag led Ajax to another league and cup double.

He will be hoping to go out on a high and win the Eredivisie for the third time in 2021/22 as Ajax currently sit four points clear of second place PSV with five games left to play.

Ten Hag also has a record of being the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in the Eredivisie, and he achieved the milestone in just 128 matches.

On the 21st of April 2022, Ten Hag was appointed as manager of Manchester United on a 3-year deal starting from the 1st of July 2022 until June 2025 —with the option of extending for a further year.

Ten Hag was understood to be the unanimous choice at United following a rigorous recruitment process that was led by director of football John Murtough and Darren Fletcher, the technical director.

Richard Arnold, the executive vice-chairman, was also involved and the trio are understood to have agreed that Ten Hag was the best candidate for the job.

Mauricio Pochettino, the Paris Saint-Germain manager who previously coached Tottenham and Southampton, and Julen Lopetegui, the Sevilla boss, were also interviewed by United, but the club are believed to have felt the Dutchman was the one that most closely aligned with their plans for the future.

It is understood that United will pay Ajax a compensation fee of £1.6 million.

It is also understood that he will also look to bring his own backroom staff with him and will have an instant input on transfers at Old Trafford.

Style of play

At Ajax, Erik ten Hag implemented an attacking, aggressive and exciting football. He wants his teams to keep possession whilst deploying the wide players (both full backs and wingers) as the main source of attack.

Unlike Pep Guardiola, his teams look to open up the pitch and penetrate lines by exploiting the sides of the pitch.

Manchester United are currently lacking in the winger department, with Jadon Sancho arguably being the only out-and-out winger in the team at the moment.

But the Englishman has struggled for form in his first season at Old Trafford: he has only managed three goals and three assists in the league. Though it hasn’t helped that he’s often not played in his preferred position.

Sancho, who cost United £73 million, would most likely welcome the arrival of a manager who deploys a system with an emphasis on wide players.

Erik Ten Hag usually plays a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 formation.

In these systems, the attacking threat comes from the wings, the midfield also helps out and are positioned quite high up the pitch in attack.

The three central midfield players all have their own unique role: the central midfield player (previously occupied by United outcast Donny van de Beek when he was at Ajax) always maintains a higher position on the pitch in support of the attack.

The two remaining midfield players generally have more defensive responsibilities: the right sided midfielder operates in a box-to-box role helping out both in defence and attack, while the remaining midfielder tending to be more composed in possession and confident on the ball.

With regards to the defence, the general requirement is that defenders need to be good on the ball, able to keep possession under pressure and capable of moving into midfield.

Each player in Ten Hag’s teams knows his role inside out.

Overall record as manager

Matches: 432

Wins: 277

Losses: 82

Draws: 73

Win Percentage: 64.12%