Erik Ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has a history of making tough decisions, and one notable instance was the acrimonious departure of Noa Lang from Ajax during Ten Hag’s tenure.
Noa Lang, now a star at PSV Eindhoven, shared insights into his strained relationship with Ten Hag. The 24-year-old had made 14 appearances under the United boss while at Eredivisie giants Ajax.
Rising through the ranks at De Toekomst, Lang debuted for the first team under Ten Hag at the age of 19 in 2019.
Despite the initial opportunity, Lang struggled to secure a regular spot in the first team, leading to his expression of a desire for more playing time in 2019.
Subsequently, he went on loan to FC Twente and then had a temporary spell at Club Brugge before making a permanent move in 2021.
In a 2021 interview with De Telegraaf, Lang discussed the breakdown of his relationship with Ten Hag, stating, “The trainer said that I would play an important role, but I’m glad I decided to look at that and not blindly sign my new contract.”
He further explained, “The first three games I got seven minutes of playing time, and then I knew enough: I have to go for my own development.”
Lang acknowledged his departure wasn’t solely Ajax’s fault, admitting, “I have had my stupid moments, I did not behave well. It is also largely my fault.”
Lang highlighted the strained relationship, saying, “It is clear that things were not right between the trainer and me.
Everyone loved me at Ajax, except for one person. The moment I indicated that a transfer would be better, I was no longer in the trainer’s plans.”
The 24-year-old emphasized the finality of the situation, stating, “No, I never spoke to him again and I don’t want to.
A new chapter has started, and I’m going to make it a success.”
Last summer, Lang returned to the Eredivisie by signing with Ajax’s rivals, PSV Eindhoven. In the current season, he has made a notable impact with four goals in nine appearances, contributing to PSV’s position at the top of the league by a significant 12-point margin.