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New Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag was destined to be a top manager and has shown it in matchdays, Van der Meyde reveals

ANDY VAN DER MEYDE knew Erik ten Hag was destined for the top when their paths first crossed at FC Twente, the year Manchester United won the Treble.

The new Old Trafford manager was in the twilight of his playing days when he linked up with the prospective loanee from Ajax in 1999.

Van der Meyde spent four years at Everton but is best known for his time at Ajax

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Van der Meyde spent four years at Everton but is best known for his time at AjaxCredit: PA:Press Association
Ten Hag hopes to turn Man United fortunes around

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Ten Hag hopes to turn Man United fortunes aroundPhoto credit: Getty

And it was immediately clear to then 19-year-old winger Van der Meyde that Ten Hag – almost ten years his senior – had a knack for coaching.

Not content to just focus on keeping strikers at bay, former centre-back Ten Hag sowed the seeds for a bright future in the coaching bench.

Although Fred Rutten was Twente’s manager, Ten Hag was already making his mark by being in charge and constantly giving tactical instructions.

Former Holland international and Everton star Van der Meyde told SunSport: “Erik is from the east of Holland – very down to earth.

Man Utd'in talks with Ajax' Timber', Ten Hag want new striker'at all costs'
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“He’s nice, direct and honest – but he can also be aggressive. All he wants is to win while making the team better.

“I played with him in Twente after I was loaned from Ajax when I was 19 and he was around 30.

“At half-time he was always talking and saying, ‘We should do it this way, we should do it this way.’

“He was the one who spoke to the manager to find out if it would be better to do it either way.

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As a player, Ten Hag played most of his football at FC Twente

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As a player, Ten Hag played most of his football at FC Twente

“Even as a player, he was busy coaching the team.”

Van der Meyde, 42, says Ten Hag, 52, wants to play entertaining football.

And he warned United’s flops that winning alone won’t be enough – they need to do so in style.

He added: “Erik doesn’t want to play bad football. He is offensive, he prepares his teams to attack.

“For that I would compare him to Peter Bosz and Ronald Koeman.

“Erik wants to develop himself, the players and the team. He wants to win games but also make the fans happy with good football.

“Entertainment is very important to him.”

Van der Meyde even compared Ten Hag to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – adding that the Dutchman has no qualms about dropping stars if they don’t follow his orders.

He added: “He’s such a good manager who builds a relationship with his players and finds time for them when they need to talk.

“You can see that at Klopp too. Erik pays a lot of attention to the players and they will therefore do much more for him than if he were aloof and just their manager without having private conversations.

“But it doesn’t matter what his name is. If a player doesn’t do what he asks, he’s on the bench.”

Van der Meyde claims United’s children will still get a big chance under the former Ajax boss.

Van de Beek rose to fame under Ten Hag at Ajax but has struggled since moving to the Premier League

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Van de Beek rose to fame under Ten Hag at Ajax but has struggled since moving to the Premier LeaguePhoto credit: Getty

One of the main beneficiaries of his arrival is Donny van de Beek, who rose to stardom under him at Amsterdam but struggled at Old Trafford after moving in 2020 and was loaned to Everton.

Van der Meyde said: “You saw Donny at Ajax what he can do in the Champions League. He never gives up but all he needs is a real chance to show what he can do.

“I know that if he gets the coach’s confidence he will score a lot of goals and get a lot of assists.

“And it’s great for the academy to have a gaffer like Erik coming because they get the opportunity to develop and help make United a great team again.

“The way the team is playing right now is a disaster – but if the club let Ten Hag do their job they will do it great again.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5362385/incoming-man-utd-boss-erik-ten-hag-was-destined-to-be-a-top-coach-and-showed-it-in-playing-days-van-der-meyde-reveals/ New Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag was destined to be a top manager and has shown it in matchdays, Van der Meyde reveals

Aila Slisco

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