Erik Ten Hag happy with his place in the Old Trafford hierarchy
Manchester United director of football John Murtough and chief executive Richard Arnold are not on tour, but Erik ten Hag is in regular dialogue with the duo. “I think we are cooperating well with John, very good communication,” the United manager said. “It’s the same with Richard Arnold. I really feel comfortable with it.
Ten Hag says he has been very clear about what he thinks the club’s problems are and how to solve them. “I think I have a clear idea of the strategy,” he said. “The way I want to play football, but also the way a top football club should be structured. We discussed these ideas and agreed on the structures and the way we play at football. Now we have to implement this.
New signing Christian Eriksen won’t join his new teammates until next week once they return to Manchester after their last tour game against Aston Villa in Perth, but Ten Hag is relishing the prospect of working with the Denmark playmaker.
“The expectations are there. That’s why we have it, said Ten Hag. “I’m sure he will fit into the squad and in some aspects of our game he will help us. I’m looking forward to him. He’s an experienced player. He plays in foreign countries, in Italy, in Holland, long in England, so he knows the Premier League. It is an absolute advantage in which we have him.
Ten Hag thinks United’s front-runners will be particularly pleased to have Eriksen on board given his vision.
“I think he’s a magnificent footballer and I think the fans will enjoy watching him because he’s creative, he has ideas,” the manager said. “I especially think that our attackers will also be happy because he is the one who can involve them in the game.”
Expect to hear plenty of ‘Ar-gen-tin-a’ chants at Old Trafford next season. Lisandro Martinez will make a £55million move to United once a visa has been ratified and if you consider the Argentina defender’s hero to be Gabriel Heinze, the former United defender, you can get an idea of his character and his approach.
Ten Hag hopes and believes that Martinez could quickly become a crowd favourite. “He’s a warrior and I think the fans will look up to him,” the manager said. “He has an attitude, a fighting spirit. He brings aggression to the game, in a good way. I think we need it. But he’s also skilled and he can handle the ball and he’s left-footed. I think the Premier League is high intensity, with a lot of challenges. We need such players. I know South Americans…I call it gritted. Controlled, aggressive. You need this in your game and with it we have such a player.
“Some ideas [of mine], he knows them. It’s an advantage, clearly. But he also has to adapt to a new country, a new club, new teammates. So also a lot of things will be different.
United are hoping Ten Hag can help Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho regain their confidence and form and the Dutchman believes the prospect of missing out on England’s World Cup squad will serve as further motivation for the pair to raise their game.
“I think so,” he said. “I think every player wants to be at the World Cup and it’s once every four years. The time is not that often so the players will know that. They have to have that in mind and they will respond to thereby.
Ten Hag arranged for all United players to sign autographs and pose for photos outside the W Hotel, where the team are staying in Melbourne, on Tuesday morning. Each team member spent 20 minutes outside making sure every supporter around the hotel in four different locations had something signed. Ten Hag was keen for the club to show their appreciation for the support he received during his tour of Australia.