In comparison to many modern managers, it is difficult to predict what style of football ten Hag would play at United.
To quote the man himself, “It’s not even about systems,” he declared a few years ago. The qualities of the players impact how you play.”
He prefers a 4-3-3 formation, and while he could certainly change it if he felt the team wasn’t good enough, this is the starting XI we believe he would select.
Erik ten Hag’s Man United starting lineup
David de Gea
Many United fans are hoping for the arrival of a new goalkeeper soon, with Dean Henderson waiting in the wings for an opportunity.
However, given the saves de Gea has made this season, it’s unlikely that a new keeper will be prioritized in the coming months.
Diogo Dalot / Ethan Laird
Ten Hag requires footballers who can attack or, at the very least, get forward when necessary.
This should be the end of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, leaving him with a choice between Laird and Dalot, with the Portuguese international having the upper hand.
Varane may not be thrilled with the prospect of playing in the Europa League next season, so United will have to work hard to keep him at the club.
But if they do, he’ll be a lock to start.
If ten Hag comes in and decides to maintain Maguire, it will be one of the most contentious decisions he has to make.
Maguire is the most polarizing player on the United team, and if he starts to struggle, Victor Lindelof will almost certainly replace him.
The safest bet would be to keep him in the lineup at the start of next season.
Rangnick appears to favor Alex Telles above Shaw, but if the Englishman needs to show himself, he does so.
A new permanent manager could be the kick in the pants Shaw requires.
Fred / new signing
Fred has performed admirably under Rangnick, but the next manager may want a defensive midfielder who can have complete control of the game.
Perhaps his first order of business as manager would be to hire a new CDM.
Donny van de Beek
Given that Paul Pogba is expected to leave the club, United requires a midfielder who can keep the ball. Add to that van de Beek’s role in Ajax’s remarkable Champions League run under ten Hag, and you have a match made in heaven.
Could this be the opportunity that the Dutch international has been looking for?
Despite his limitations, Fernandes should be in United’s starting lineup. He generates and scores so many chances that he will be an important member of this team.
Ten Hag should enjoy overseeing Sancho, and vice versa. Sancho benefited from strong offensive instructions while in Germany, and he should receive something similar from his next management.
Although Anthony Elanga has outperformed Rashford thus far this season, we believe the Englishman will turn things around.
Perhaps a bit of time off in the summer is what he needs, after being in the limelight for almost 24 months straight.
Cristiano Ronaldo / new signing
Ronaldo, like Varane, may be uninterested in not competing in the Champions League next season.
As a result, he may be able to go. This might provide an opportunity for United to make a splash by bringing in a top-tier young striker to lead the line under the incoming manager.