Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has praised Donny van de Beek and said he is ‘looking forward’ to working with the player again.
Ten Hag was appointed as United’s new manager in April from the start of the 2022/23 campaign and previously managed Van de Beek at Ajax from 2017 to 2020.
The midfielder excelled under him and was part of Ajax’s superb run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19 where they eliminated both Real Madrid and Juventus before the defeat to Tottenham. He was on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or later that year.
His form convinced United to spend £35m on the player in 2020 but after failing to secure regular football, he joined Everton on deadline day in January. He played just seven games for the Toffees and was hampered by injuries during his time at Goodison Park.
“Yes of course,” Ten Hag told his first press conference as the new manager of Manchester United on Monday. “We had a fantastic squad in that time at Ajax. I really had a good relationship with him and of course I am looking forward to meeting him again on the pitch.”
Erik ten Hag also hailed Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire – leading many supporters to question his judgement of the beleaguered captain.
The former Ajax boss, who will take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford this summer, has given his first interview and mentioned the defender.
When asked if Maguire would remain the club captain, ten Hag said: ‘Next season is a different season. ‘He did a great job, he is a great player, achieved a lot with a contribution to Manchester United. I’m looking forward to working with him.’
The England centre half has become synonymous with the club’s struggles, becoming the target of fans’ ire for perceived underwhelming display since his £80m move from Leicester in summer 2019.
And fans quickly took to Twitter to condemn ten Hag’s positive comments about the 42-cap international.
One asked: ‘Did a great job? Great player? , Maguire? Is Ten Hag high?’, with another simply saying: ‘Ten Hag out’.
A third concluded: ‘Do you enjoy being lied to? (Ten Hag) just told you Harry Maguire is a great player that’s achieved a lot Wikipedia is free and will confirm this to be factually incorrect. Hope this helps’.
One said: ‘what’s he achieved? 4 relegations???’, followed by a crying emoji, as another added: ‘Believe that (ten Hag’s comments) at your own peril’.