Rio Ferdinand relieved Man Utd have ‘some sort of direction now’ after Erik ten Hag’s arrival


‘Am I happy? I’m happy it’s done’: Rio Ferdinand reveals relief that Man United have ‘some sort of direction now’ after news of Erik ten Hag’s arrival in the summer – but former captain warns Dutchman he must get the recruitment right straight away

  • Man United announced the arrival of Erik ten Hag as manager on Thursday 
  • The Ajax boss signed a three-year contract and will join ahead of next season
  • Ex-Red Devils captain Rio Ferdinand says Ten Hag needs to improve the culture
  • Ferdinand added that he hopes Ten Hag brings players in ‘for the right reasons’

Rio Ferdinand admitted he was relieved Manchester United had finally got their man after Erik ten Hag was announced as the club’s new manager. 

The Ajax boss signed a three-year deal at Old Trafford and will join ahead of next season, putting to bed months of speculation on who would be next in the hotseat at the Red Devils. 

After a disappointing season which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked in November and interim boss Ralf Rangnick struggle in the months since, Ferdinand did however note that Ten Hag must hit the ground running with regards to recruitment and culture. 

The Ajax boss signed a three-year deal at Old Trafford and will join ahead of next season

Rio Ferdinand admitted he was relieved Manchester United had finally got their man after Erik ten Hag was announced as the club’s new manager

United confirmed Ten Hag's appointment in a statement issued on Thursday morning

United confirmed Ten Hag’s appointment in a statement issued on Thursday morning

Asked if he was happy with Ten Hag’s appointment, Ferdinand said on his Vive with Five YouTube channel: ‘Am I happy? Yeah I’m happy it’s done, I’m happy we’ve got some sort of direction now…

‘He’s been working with a recruitment team that’s been getting it right (at Ajax) – and that’s a big element that needs sorting out at Manchester United because recruitment has been of the downfalls of the last 10 years. 

‘I’ve said it before – players have been bought who people say “yes I’ve seen that” but it hasn’t worked out. They haven’t improved when they’ve come in the building – tell which players have improved, who have gone on to another level since being bought? 

‘Bruno (Fernandes) maybe – they’ve either stayed the same or gone backwards and wouldn’t be able to leave for the fee they came in for. So that’s an area he’s definitely got to look at and he’ll have his hand over that. 

United released this picture of Ten Hag with a United shirt shortly after the announcement

United released this picture of Ten Hag with a United shirt shortly after the announcement

The Dutch coach, 52, faces the challenge of rebuilding United into a trophy-winning force

The Dutch coach, 52, faces the challenge of rebuilding United into a trophy-winning force

‘United have spent lavishly over the last few years and big, big players that excite you – I mean the beginning of the season Ronaldo comes in, Varane comes in, Sancho comes in and I’m excited – doesn’t work, doesn’t work. 

‘We can’t afford to have windows like that again where you see big, massive players come in, big names – but the recruitment has to be right with the right reasons to buy players that can help with the culture. 

‘He has a massive role to play in bringing this culture – I feel he’s someone who’s created that at Ajax with the overarching ethos and philosophy at Ajax.’

United have been knocked out of all the Cup competitions this season and are currently sixth in the Premier League ahead of a crucial top-four clash against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.  

Ten Hag fact file 

Born: February 2, 1970 in Haaksbergen, Holland

  • Played as a centre-back for Dutch clubs FC Twente (three spells), De Graafschap, RKC Waalwijk and Utrecht, making 336 league appearances.
  • Won the Dutch second division with De Graafschap in 1990-91 and the Dutch Cup with FC Twente in 2000-01.
  • Moved into management with second-tier Go Ahead Eagles, where Marc Overmars was a shareholder, in 2012, leading them to their first promotion in 17 years during his one and only season there.
  • Coached Bayern Munich’s second team between 2013 and 2015, when Pep Guardiola was manager of the first team.
  • Returned to Utrecht as manager in 2015, leading them to finishes of fifth and fourth in the Eredivisie in his two seasons there.
  • Appointed Ajax head coach in December 2017 following the dismissal of Marcel Keizer.
  • Has won Dutch league and cup doubles with the Amsterdam club in 2018-19 and 2020-21, as well as leading them to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019. 

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