Ten Hag picks out the one Ajax player he is 'extremely grateful' for
After completing his tenure with Ajax, Erik ten Hag is looking ahead immediately to a new start at Manchester United.
Before doing so he had time to say a few words about the Ajax team he is leaving behind, and chose to talk up one player who has been at the club throughout his 4.5 year stint at the club.
Ten Hag picks out the one Ajax player he is ‘extremely grateful’ for
Ten Hag has been reliant on left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, with the Argentina international a regular in his team.
Speaking about the 29-year-old, Ten Hag talked up the traits which has made the defender a player he has been able to rely on.
The manager told Ajax Showtime: “A great character, who actually never whines. Of course he was dissatisfied when he didn’t play, but always give one hundred percent in training. When he had to, he was there and that’s important.
“He has fought for the team, fought for Ajax, brought quality and ultimately made a very big contribution to the championship.
“I think he’s such a great person, who has a lot of great angles. So as a person he is completely okay, but also as a football player he has made a great contribution.
“He has been with me from the beginning to the end. I am extremely grateful to him for the collaboration, but certainly also for what he has delivered for Ajax as a person and as a football player.”
Tagliafico played 169 matches under Ten Hag, scoring 16 times and providing 23 assists. He scored the opener to set Ajax towards the victory which sealed their win over Heerenveen in midweek, proving what his manager said about stepping up at the right time.
Ten Hag wants players with character and talent
With Tagliafico turning 30 in August, it’s probably unlikely Ten Hag will pursue him in the transfer market. Although given his admiration for him, and the fact the left-back has just one year left on his contract at Ajax, don’t rule it out completely.
Instead, the manager is more likely to use Tagliafico as a prototype for the players he wants in his dressing room at Old Trafford.
He wants players who can bounce back from setbacks, who won’t sulk if they are dropped, instead coming back stronger, and those who work for the benefit of the group, rather than themselves.
United’s squad needs big changes, and Ten Hag will be assessing the players’ personalities as well as their talent. His comments on Tagliafico underlined how much importance he pays to the type of players he has in his squad, and the ones he chooses to rely upon.