David Meyler joined Football Saturday to discuss Manchester United and Erik ten Hag.
Erik ten Hag is a divisive hire for Manchester United.
Simon Kuper believes that ten Hag is a brilliant hire. He will develop Manchester United's young players, instill an identity in the club and return them to the top of the league sooner or later. That's an opinion that is shared by some, but there are more doubters than believers when it comes to the current Ajax manager.
Ajax are a much smaller club than Manchester United despite its legacy status. And while ten Hag's achievements in the Eredivisie are not particularly noteworthy, his achievements in the Champions League without star players are very impressive. Ten Hag revitalized the careers of former Premier League flops.
Sebastien Haller is scoring for fun in the Champions League. He failed to make West Ham's starting team. Dusan Tadic had a forgettable career in England. He's now the creative force in a Champions League team. Davy Klassen and Daley Blind are playing to the best of their capabilities.
In a sheer football sense, ten Hag is a great hire. He has proven himself as a manager at a high level. He has a clear identity and a proven ability to execute his philosophy. But Manchester United bring a reality tv show level of drama away from the field that managers have to deal with. Can ten Hag handle that?
David Meyler isn't so sure he can.
John Duggan asked Meyler if he thought ten Hag was big enough for Manchester United.
"Yes, at the moment yes he is," Meyler answered.
"It's such a difficult job to go into because everything is all over the place. Obviously he's had great success at Ajax but the philosophies of the clubs, the standards of the leagues, the expectations are so different. The pressure at Manchester United is hard. You've seen so many managers after Sir Alex struggle with that.
"Is he the right appointment? Only time will tell."
Meyler believes Antonio Conte made more sense for Manchester United. Conte is doing a great job at Tottenham, which only puts greater pressure on ten Hag. When ten Hag takes over the club, he will have to decide on the futures of different players. Bruno Fernandes will remain under his new extension. But Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo are likely to depart.
Ten Hag is not solely responsible for his success moving forward. The Manchester United board must set him up to be successful and trust his decisions while supporting his direction in the transfer market.
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