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Player of the Month winners proving the value of Erik ten Hag’s judgement

by David O'Neill

The Erik ten Hag effect looks to have been in full swing at Manchester United judging by the Player of the Month winners at the club.

Handed almost full control over the recruitment strategy at Old Trafford, the Dutchman seems to have made his mark on the side.

His signings have been almost universally successful, so much so that three of the four Player of the Month winners have been signed under Ten Hag’s short reign.

Lisandro Martinez, much criticised over perceived issues concerning his height, won the August award after remarkably silencing his doubters.

The defender had a difficult start against Brentford and was substituted at half-time, but fantastic performances against Liverpool and Southampton demonstrated his quality as a Premier League defender.

Christian Eriksen won the September award after showing his creativity and class. The midfielder was signed on a free transfer having trained under Ten Hag at Ajax.

And the Dane’s playmaking ability from deep has been a missing ingredient at Old Trafford for far too long.

Casemiro, signed late in the window from Real Madrid, enjoyed an outstanding October, earning him the award in that month.

A real veteran, Ten Hag still chose to ease the five-time Champions League winner into his first eleven – a decision that was richly rewarded by the Brazilian’s contributions once he did become a fixture in the team.

To have three new signings settle in so well early on in the season can only be a testament to the man-management skills of Ten Hag.

The fact that United’s fourth Player of the Month winner was Alejandro Garnacho only further supports this.

The Argentine was trusted by Ten Hag to come into the side in the absence of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial.

While the more experienced Anthony Elanga remained an option, the manager trusted Garnacho’s ability to make the difference in key matches, such as the Real Sociedad and Fulham games in which the youngster scored the winning goal.

And that came despite reports of the teenager’s poor attitude in preseason.

Ten Hag kept Garnacho away from the first team picture until his attitude saw improvement and, again, rewards were reaped.

The Dutchman has certainly proven that he can pick a player and the speed with which he has been able to integrate new signings and academy prospects alike can only bolster the club’s faith in him.

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