Having won three consecutive Premier League matches, Erik ten Hag has been gaining plaudits from around the football world for his quick recovery.
Manchester United had lost their two opening matches under the new manager in defeats indicative of last season’s atmosphere and performances.
Ralf Rangnick was unable to steady the ship following Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s sacking last season but had been lined up to become a consultant this summer.
Many fans were excited by this prospect, given the German’s previous success in adding modern structures to clubs.
In Ten Hag’s first press conference, the Dutchman – in his usual laconic way – suggested he was not keen to interact with Rangnick consistently, saying “That is on the club.”
Following Rangnick’s appointment as the head coach of Austria’s national team, he stepped down from his consultancy role with United.
Ten Hag, at that point, had already appointed Steve McClaren as his assistant – the Englishman was expected to act as a sounding board and a bridge between United and the manager. He has since been noted for his positive activity on the training ground.
McClaren’s ability to advise Ten Hag stems from his vast experience in English football (including his coaching role in United’s Treble-winning season) alongside his spells in Europe with FC Twente and Wolfsburg.
Ten Hag has revealed, however, that he has enlisted a rather important, if not obvious, United legend as a consultant.
“We are grateful, but now we have to build a new future that is also clear.”
Using Ferguson as a consultant could be a wise move by ten Hag, who has entered the dog-eat-dog world of the Premier League. He must also acclimatise to the chaotic inner workings of United and its overwhelming size and expectations.
Furthermore, Ferguson was notorious for his antagonistic view of the British press. With Ten Hag already acquiring a track record of ‘put downs’, Ferguson could help the former Ajax manager in navigating the treacherous discourse with the media.
Ten Hag’s statement that United “have to build a new future” also inspires optimism that he will attempt to modernise a declining footballing giant. His instant dismissal of Rangnick may have caused some fans to become concerned about the club’s aim to renovate its sporting operation.
Chief executive Richard Arnold has also recruited Ferguson as part of a new “thinktank” consisting of David Gill, Bryan Robson, John Murtough, and the legendary Scotsman.
Ferguson’s new and varying roles in United can only indicate that Ten Hag and the club want to reaffirm footballing values.
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