Erik ten Hag: New Man Utd manager’s preferred formation, style of play, trophies, teams coached and age

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The former Alax boss was offically unveiled as Manchester United boss on 23 May.

Erik ten Hag has started his reign as Manchester United manager and was officially unveiled to the media on Monday 23 May.

The Dutchman has a huge task on his hands in changing the Red Devils’ fortunes and ensuring they regularly challenge for silverware once again.

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But how did Ten Hag get here and what has his managerial been like to this point?

Who is Erik ten Hag?

Ten Hag oversaw the famous Ajax Champions League run in the 2018/2019 season, knocking out the current holders at the time, Real Madrid.

Erik ten Hag was in good spirits as he addressed the press on Monday afternoon. Credit: Getty.Erik ten Hag was in good spirits as he addressed the press on Monday afternoon. Credit: Getty.
Erik ten Hag was in good spirits as he addressed the press on Monday afternoon. Credit: Getty. | Manchester United via Getty Imag

Over the years, he has garnered praise and following for his style of play and his knack of utilising the youth system at his clubs, with younger players such as Matthis De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong playing pivotal roles before they moved on.

He joins United ahead of th e 2022/23 season, and has signed a three-year contract until 2025, with the option of a further year.

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What is his coaching history?

Since his playing career ended at Dutch outfit FC Twente in 2002, Ten Hag has managed four clubs, including Ajax.

Following his retirement as a player, Ten Hag wasted no time in getting into coaching, and he was appointed as the manager of the FC Twente Under-17s team, before moving up to the U19s a year later in 2003.

After three years of nurturing the youth of Twente, the Dutchman received his big promotion and was appointed as the assistant manager of Twente in 2006, a position he held for a further three years.

In 2009, he was appointed as assistant manager of one of the biggest sides in the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven.

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In 2012, it was time for the coach to make the step up, and he was appointed as the manager of Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles, where he achieved promotion to the Eredivisie in his solitary season with the side.

After spending his entire playing and coaching career in his native country, Ten Hag moved to Germany in 2013 where he took charge of Bayern Munich II, and stayed for two years.

This is seen as a pivotal moment in Ten Hag’s development as he worked closely with Pep Guardiola, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever managers, with the Catalan’s influence clearly seen in his play.

After two years at Bayern II, he moved to Utretch, the club he began and ended his career with, managing their for 111 games before moving to Ajax in 2017.

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What trophies has he won as a manager?

Ten Hag won his first trophy with Bayern II as they won the German Regionalliga Bavaria in the 2013/2014 season.

He then didn’t win silverware as a manager until he took charge of Ajax, winning three Dutch league titles, two Dutch cups and one Dutch super cup.

What is ten Hag’s preferred style of play?

The 52-year-old prefers a 4-3-3 formation, with a defensive midfield screening the back four.

It’s a style United themselves favour, and they deployed in 2021/22.

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Ten he prefers an attacking, fluid side, reminiscent of Guardiola’s Manchester City team. The new United manager favours technical wingers such as Dusan Tadic and Antony, over pacey, more athletic widemen, a style of play that could work wonders with the likes of Jadon Sancho.

With his defenders, Ten Hag likes technically gifted, ball-playing centre-backs, and prefers to play out from the back. With defenders such as Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof already at United, they could work well in his system.

What has ten Hag said since becoming Manchester United manager?

The Dutchman has made a good first impression since taking over at United, and made several interesting comments in his first press conference.

Following his appointment, Ten Hag highlighted how eras come to an end, in a comment aimed at Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

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The 52-year-old said: “In this moment, I admire them both. They play really fantastic football, Liverpool and Man City. But you always see that an era can come to an end,”

“I am looking forward to battling them and I’m sure all the other clubs in the Premier League will want do that.”

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