Erik ten Hag insists he is ‘looking forward’ to working with his former Ajax player Donny van de Beek at Manchester United.
Van de Beek thrived under Ten Hag in Holland, making 175 appearances for the Dutch giants and helping them win the Eredivisie title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The Netherlands international was expected to continue his development at Manchester United following a £40m move from Ajax in the summer of 2020.
But Van de Beek endured a miserable spell at Old Trafford – scoring two goals in 27 Premier League appearances – before he was sent on loan to Everton in January.
The 25-year-old said he hoped to prove his critics wrong at Goodison Park but has struggled with form and fitness, making just seven appearances and scoring his only goal in the 5-1 defeat to Arsenal on the final day.
Van de Beek is now set to return to Manchester United and will hope to revive his faltering career under ex-boss Ten Hag, who has signed a three-year deal with the Premier League giants.
Ten Hag faced reporters in his first press conference on Monday afternoon and was asked if he was looking forward to working with Van de Beek again.
‘Yes, of course,’ the new Red Devils manager said. ‘We had 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.’
Ten Had won three Dutch titles in his five-year spell at Ajax but is taking over a Manchester United squad that has gone five successive seasons without a trophy.
Under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and interim boss Ralf Rangnick, United finished sixth in the Premier League this season, recording their lowest points total since 1990.
Asked what excites him about his move to Old Trafford, Ten Hag added: ‘First of all, we want to make the fans proud. Second, of course we are in this moment, the current situation is obviously not that good.
‘It’s a big challenge. I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results.
‘Also we are playing in the Theatre of Dreams. We want to entertain. But in the end, the intention is to play fantastic football. If we can’t play fantastic football, we still have to win.’
- De Jong’s dream shirt number made available at Man Utd ahead of transfer
- Man United stars reacts as Erik ten Hag issues strong warning
- Frenkie De Jong makes unexpected U-turn on joining Man United
- Chelsea announce 4 players to depart Stamford Bridge in addition to Antonio Rudiger
- David Beckham names best player he ever played with during his career