Ten Hag has brought the good feeling back to Manchester United already: The Treble column

The Treble column: June 28

Ten Hag has brought the good feeling back already

Last season is a campaign Manchester United fans cannot forget quickly enough, so imagine how the players feel about the Ralf Rangnick era.

To that end, it’s understandable new boss Erik ten Hag was keen on a clean break, with ESPN claiming he was behind the club terminating Rangnick’s consultancy role.

United’s players returned for pre-season on Monday and it was just what we needed to distract ourselves from a month of frustration in the transfer market.

These issues still need addressing, but it was genuinely refreshing to see Erik ten Hag and his coaching staff out on the training pitch at Carrington putting the players through their paces.

David de Gea sent a positive message to fans about the session, expressing how happy he is to be back, and that says a lot. At the end of last season he looked absolutely fed up, and who can blame him?

There was even a smile from Anthony Martial, back from a spell at Sevilla where he learned the grass was not greener away from Old Trafford.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

The real star of the day was Alejandro Garnacho, who returned to training a week early, after playing for Argentina under-20s just a fortnight ago. This was the type of attitude Manchester United fans want to see.

He was among eight teenagers involved in the session too, with Ten Hag getting the chance to see Manchester United’s youth talent on his first day as manager.

New signings will lift the mood further, but Ten Hag and his staff are themselves just what Manchester United need to start righting the wrongs of last season. While a lot of hard work lies ahead, it was genuinely encouraging to see the Ten Hag era get up and running.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Welcome back Steve

Steve McClaren is back at Manchester United, and what a journey it has been for Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble winning assistant.

Since branching off to try management in his own right, it hasn’t exactly gone smoothly for McClaren.

He earned the England job after leading unfancied Middlesbrough to a European final, but his stint with the Three Lions was an unmitigated disaster.

While he rebuilt his reputation a little in the Netherlands with FC Twente, his achievement there was overshadowed by clips of him speaking Anglo-Dutch, introducing himself as ‘Schteve’.

But it was this spell which led McClaren back to Manchester United, with his assistant at Twente being Erik ten Hag.

A return to English football did not work out well at Derby or Newcastle, and now McClaren has returned for the one role for which he truly was a perfect fit – Manchester United’s assistant.

Whatever your views of McClaren over the past two decades, his contribution in 1999 should never be overlooked, and he could be an ideal figure to bridge any cultural or knowledge gaps Ten Hag has at United. Welcome back Steve.

Consider David de Gea as captain

Harry Maguire is not due back at training for at least another week after being on international duty and then getting married.

New manager Erik ten Hag has a decision to make over who should be captain, whether to stick with Maguire, or find another option.

One candidate is Cristiano Ronaldo, but there’s a problem with giving the striker the armband, mainly because he won’t play every game.

So what do you do then, in the games Ronaldo is rested? Give it back to Maguire? Or make a point of avoiding the defender altogether?

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

The standout option is goalkeeper David de Gea, who can be expected to play in nearly every match, and has the respect of his teammates, being voted as players’ player of the year.

This would be a simple solution, even if De Gea’s long-term future is not assured, with his contract set to expire in 2023.

Maguire could flourish without the extra pressure of the armband, and it would also give Ten Hag added freedom to take him out of the side when he sees fit.

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron...