Man United ‘underperformers’ that Erik ten Hag ‘thinks ARE worth sticking with’: Bruno Fernandes, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay – and the return of Donny van de Beek
- Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag on Thursday
- He joins a club in disarray after enduring a miserable 2021-22 campaign
- Big changes are expected in the playing squad in the next transfer window
- Ten Hag though believes there are a number of players worth sticking with
Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly already chosen the players he thinks ‘are worth sticking with’ when he arrives at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
The long-awaited news that Ten Hag will leave Ajax and become United’s permanent manager was today announced in a club statement.
Ten Hag joins the club at a time of disarray, with star players not performing, the club languishing outside the top-four and a number of individuals expected to leave this summer.
Erik ten Hag has reportedly chosen a list of players he believes are worth sticking with
The reported list does not include Cristiano Ronaldo or the club’s captain Harry Maguire
Despite all of the ongoing issues, the Guardian report that the 52-year-old believes the current squad have ‘vastly underperformed’ this season and thinks there are ‘four groups of players’ who he can work with going forward.
The first group consists of players that are already at the pinnacle of their careers, which is where Ten Hag places Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane.
After a brilliant start to his United career, Fernandes’ performances levels have dropped off significantly this season, while Varane has struggled for consistency and fitness since arriving from Real Madrid last summer.
Then there are those who are ‘entering’ that phase, which includes Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay.
Rashford has had a tough season in which he has scored only five goals in 30 appearances across all competitions, while McTominay’s position in midfield has come under question at times.
Bruno Fernandes (R) and Raphael Varane (L) are viewed as important players by Ten Hag
Marcus Rashford is seen as someone ‘entering his pinnacle’ despite his struggles this season
Jadon Sancho is viewed as someone who is on an upwards trajectory while promising youngsters emerging from academy, including Hannibal Mejbri, Alejandro Garnacho and James Garner are those he believe who have a bright future.
England international Sancho made a slow start to life at Old Trafford after his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, but has arguably been one of their best performers, along with goalkeeper David De Gea, in recent months.
Donny van de Beek, who Ten Hag worked with at Ajax and is currently on loan at Everton, will be given a chance to revive his career at Old Trafford
Notably, the reported list does not include Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, or current club captain Harry Maguire.
Though his comeback has not gone as planned and he has visibly shown his frustrations on multiple occasions, Ronaldo continues to be a top-level attacking threat, scoring 21 goals in 35 appearances.
Scott McTominay is also expected to be a key figure under the incoming United manager
Donny van de Beek is expected to be given a chance by his former Ajax boss next season
Maguire has arguably endured the toughest season with many notable errors following his heroics for England at the Euros.
There will be a number of notable departures this summer, including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Phil Jones and Juan Mata – which will give Ten Hag more room to play with in the summer transfer window.
His main target in the market is expected to be a midfielder, with West Ham’s influential star Declan Rice on the shortlist.
A centre-back and a new striker will also be a priority in the summer.
Ten Hag has signed a contract to June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year.
He has been in charge of Ajax for four years, winning the Dutch league and cup double in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
Jadon Sancho is viewed as a star of the future at Old Trafford by 52-year-old Ten Hag
Academy stars including Hannibal Mejbri could be given more of a chance next season
His team lost the 2022 cup final to PSV Eindhoven at the weekend but are on course to secure another league title.
Ten Hag is to be joined by Ajax No 2 Mitchell van der Gaag, who has yet to conclude contract talks with the Premier League club.
Sportsmail understands that Ten Hag also wants McClaren, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant, to join him at United having previously worked together in Holland.
United are not opposed to the move but would prefer Ten Hag to assess the current coaching set-up at the club before making a final decision.
Declan Rice is on the shortlist as United are heavily expected to sign a midfielder this summer
The likes of Paul Pogba (pictured) and Nemanja Matic are expected to leave this summer
Ten Hag is the fifth manager to be appointed at Old Trafford, since Ferguson’s retirement back in 2013.
The Dutchman said after confirmation of his appointment: ‘It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.
‘I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.
‘It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.’
Ten Hag joins United at the end of the season following months of speculation over his future
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