Erik ten Hag has already expressed his feelings about Manchester United’s treatment of Donny van de Beek, indicating how the two Dutchmen can collaborate in the future.
The club has held conversations with the Ajax manager this week about being the club’s next permanent manager, and he is considered to be the frontrunner. Ten Hag previously dealt with United, allowing Van de Beek to transfer to Old Trafford in exchange for £35 million 18 months ago.
The Netherlands international’s difficulties at United have been well chronicled, and he is now on loan at relegation-threatened Everton as a result of his restricted playing time. Van de Beek has made 50 appearances for United, although just 19 of those have been starts.
Ten Hag stated it was difficult for him to witness then-boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ignore Van de Beek. The 24-year-old was a key figure in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, scoring the game-winning goal in the first leg against Tottenham.
Van van Beek’s departure from United stunned everyone, including his former manager. “Donny, I find it difficult,” ten Hag told de Volkskrant in December. It’s a heinous crime.
“Development will halt if you haven’t had a chance yet.” You give them encouragement now and again.” His remarks demonstrate that the 52-year-old is not afraid to say what he thinks, even if it means upsetting the apple cart.
The statements also highlight his relationship with the young players he develops, which could bode well for Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It might also be a boost for Marcus Rashford, with Ten Hag’s comments providing insight into his approach to motivating players who are stuck in their careers.
Rashford has had a disappointing season, with many supporters concerned about his on-field demeanor. Ten Hag has a track record of getting the best out of players, as seen by ex-West Ham striker Sebastian Heller’s 33 goals for Ajax this season.
Many of United’s players could benefit from an arm around the shoulder and some harsh words of reality.