Erik ten Hag has been appointed as Manchester United manager and the news has been welcomed by his former player Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek was a key player for Ten Hag at Ajax before being sold to Manchester United in 2020 for a fee of £35 million.

The midfielder has struggled for game time since joining United and is currently out on loan at Everton.

The appointment of Ten Hag could give Van de Beek a new lease of life at Old Trafford and it is in theory the best case scenario for the 25-year-old.

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Van de Beek could be Ten Hag’s biggest success story

Two managers have tried with Van de Beek and failed, with neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nor Ralf Rangnick taking a shine to him.

He has started only 12 games for the club since his move, so it is fair to say he has not had a proper chance. But when he has featured, rarely has he grabbed attention.

Ten Hag has shown he knows how to get the best out of him, with Van de Beek playing a key role in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

The 2018/19 season saw Van de Beek score 17 goals and named in the top 30 of the Ballon d’Or. So the talent is there and Ten Hag knows how to use him.

If the Dutchman can manage to get Van de Beek showing his true quality and build a side which works to his strengths, he will look like a genius, based on the lack of impact the midfielder has had so far.

Managers often look to buy their former players when they are hired by a club, and in this respect, Van de Beek’s presence in the United squad is a gift for Ten Hag, even if he is a bit of a reclamation project at this point.

Van de Beek knows Ten Hag’s methods and management style, and just having him in the squad will be a really big help for the new manager.

Or he could be Ten Hag’s first mistake…

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There is a chance that Donny van de Beek’s style is simply not cut out for the Premier League. Solskjaer and Rangnick did not play him, and at Everton, he has not had much success either.

Ten Hag has obviously seen him succeed at Ajax, and could make the mistake of being too headstrong in belief that the midfielder can recapture the magic.

The new boss may persist in playing Van de Beek for the first few months, only to learn first hand what his predecessors saw behind the scenes, that the midfielder is not equipped physically for the pace and strength the Premier League requires.

If Ten Hag approached the situation objectively he may discard Van de Beek, but his previous relationship and experience with him could push him into giving him a fresh chance, and waste valuable time to learn what other managers already saw.

A desire to turn Van de Beek’s career at United around will prove tempting, but Ten Hag cannot do this at the expense of the team or results.

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