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Not time for Erik?

Erik ten Hag to Manchester United. Looks like it is happening. After much deliberation and a drawn-out interview process, ten Hag has emerged as a clear frontrunner. He has had a brilliant, yet under-the-radar career so far. Therefore, it is only natural that the choice fills United fans with a lot of excitement.

Read Also: How Erik Ten Hag’s ideal lineup will look like

The Dutchman has already had his interview and both parties seem to be happy with each other. Ten Hag, for his part, has refused to comment on his future direction.


Nevertheless, fans are jubilant given the work he has done with Ajax and desperately wanted him over the other frontrunner Mauricio Pochettino. However, ten Hag may not be as total gold as supporters think. FootTheBall highlights five key constraints if ten Hag were to take over at Old Trafford.


Not a player-manager

One of the key areas where Pochettino is well-known. During his time with Spurs, Pochettino was revered for bringing out the best in Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, and others. Erik ten Hag is more concerned with the overall play of the team. He sees the whole squad as a whole and though there is room for player improvement, nearly not as much as Pochettino.


He had intense one-on-one sessions with each player and wanted to make sure that everyone was developing rapidly. That kind of attention to detail is something the Red Devils desperately need for their players. Marcus Rashford is having the most difficult spell of his young career.

Anthony Elanga is still raw and needs developing. Harry Maguire’s confidence has been shaken this season. Ten Hag can get the team overall in a sense but the individual players need more than wins and points.

Also read: Who is Toby Collyer, the young midfielder signed by Manchester United?


New to Premier League

Having only managed in his home country, apart from a couple of years with Bayern Munich, Erik ten Hag will be a gamble. Not only for England, but he could also have an underwhelming in any foreign league. The Premier League is often considered the hardest in Europe, given the fantastic work rate and standard of play.


Several foreign managers over the years have struggled to get up to speed quickly. Frank de Boer famously lost all seven of his matches with Crystal Palace before he was fired.

Moreover, the competition has increased a lot in recent years which means United will have to work hard to compete. The patience at the club often runs thin so supporters will want to see quick results positively.


Bland with media

In England, handling the media has to be one of the top three criteria for a new manager. The press coverage is intense and the questions are a barrage. Any manager in the league has to be extremely efficient in handling this. However, Erik ten Hag has not been a shining example in this regard. He has been described as a quiet fellow who is not too confrontational.


On the other hand, managers who are managing currently have gained a wealth of experience over the years. Ten Hag can get flustered and even run out of answers as the season goes on, with the scrutiny getting harsher and harsher.


Weak in-game management

Like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, ten Hag is not too proactive in reaction to in-game situations. He has mostly kept his first 11 fixed throughout the season and in the Eredivisie, that is usually enough if you are Ajax. However, he will have to change his ways once he comes to United. Solskjaer struggled in making substitutions and often acted too late to salvage the game.


Ten Hag has let the same players on the pitch try and overturn results, which cannot be too successful in the Premier League. Furthermore, Manchester United do not have too many great players they could bring off the bench and it is set to get further thinned.

Ten Hag will need to bring in a lot of players if he is to manage a full season and European competition (if they qualify).


Administrative chaos

Ten Hag has always had a solid boardroom structure behind him. Bayern Munich is one of the most professionally-run clubs. Ajax has Edwin Van der Sar and until recently, Marc Overmars. This kind of support and cohesion helps the manager is doing his job to the best of his abilities. At United, there is very little cohesion in anything.


Darren Fletcher can be found shouting at referees. Richard Arnold has not spoken to the media at all. John Murtough’s role in the whole setup is unclear.

Therefore, ten Hag will be almost all by himself. In short, that is something he is very unfamiliar with and can take the focus away from his day job.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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