Tim Sherwood has given a damning verdict of Erik ten Hag’s reign as Manchester United thus far by claiming he hasn’t improved any player.
Ten Hag is in his second year as Red Devils boss and his side have made a questionable start to the new season. They have won two and lost as many of four games so far and there are question marks about the squad at his disposal.
Manchester United finished last season third and Ten Hag ended their six-year wait for a trophy by guiding them to the Carabao Cup. Yet, issues have surrounded his entire stint in charge of the Premier League giants.
Sherwood alluded to this when opining that the Dutch coach hasn’t overseen any improvement from any player at Old Trafford. The former Tottenham Hotspur manager told Sky Sports:
“I’m not sure he’s improved anyone at that football club. Who has he improved? He hasn’t improved anyone at the moment. I think he did ok last year.”
Manchester United fans will argue that there have been many players who have shown improvement under Ten Hag. Marcus Rashford bounced back from a disappointing 2021-22 campaign and bagged 30 goals and 11 assists in 56 games last season.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag has brought 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho into the first-team fold and the Argentine wonderkid is flourishing. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has shown improvement from an attacking perspective and has displayed more consistency. Kobbie Mainoo, 18, is the latest youngster whom Ten Hag is nurturing into a first-team regular.
Sherwood did acknowledge the precarious situation Ten Hag walked into at Old Trafford. He namedropped Cristiano Ronaldo who left the club after falling out with his manager, treatment that the former Spurs boss suggests was incorrect:
“It’s a mess what he’s come into and he’s had the Ronaldo situation to deal with. But how bad is that, one of the best players in the world and you’ve got to deal with him but he should have dealt with that better. He’s got talented players there and I don’t feel like he’s made any of them better.”
On the opposite side of the fence, many may question Ten Hag’s decision to offload many of Manchester United’s youth players this summer. The likes of Anthony Elanga, 21, Zidane Iqbal, 20, and goalkeeper Matej Kovar, 23, all departed.
However, Manchester Evening News reports that Ten Hag has taken on more responsibility with the academy since his arrival. He oversaw the development of many stars previously at Ajax including the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, and Hakim Ziyech.
Former Manchester United midfielder James Garner gives an insight into Ten Hag’s management style
James Garner left United for Everton last summer but the midfielder spent last year’s pre-season with the Dutchman. He has spoken about the strict discipline his former boss possesses (via the aforementioned source):
“Ten Hag is a very approachable guy but is very strict. He takes no-one bending the rules. He will say it how it is and will punish people if they have done the wrong things.
Ten Hag has displayed his strict style of management during his time at Manchester United. The Dutch coach has put his foot down and made many risky decisions.
The best example of this is his handling of Ronaldo who departed last November after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract. The Portuguese icon claimed he was ‘disrespected’ by Ten Hag after being handed a bit-part role. He was soon shown the Old Trafford door.
Ten Hag also stripped Harry Maguire of the Red Devils’ captaincy in the summer amid his lack of game time. Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho is currently training away from the first team due to a ‘squad discipline’ issue.