Jaap Stam has warned Manchester United that Erik ten Hag would be dealing with a different animal should he be appointed as the club’s next boss.
The Red Devils are still searching for a permanent successor to interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who has already expressed his admiration for the work Ten Hag has done at Ajax since 2017. The Dutchman is one of the two outstanding candidates for the Old Trafford hot seat alongside under-fire Paris Saint-Germain gaffer Mauricio Pochettino and is even ready to answer the club’s SOS call.
But should Ten Hag be handed the keys, Stam reckons his compatriot will face a tough task in making the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League. “Ten Hag is doing very well at Ajax; he makes the team a difficult opponent for everyone in Europe and Holland,” the ex-United defender told Sky Sports Italy, via Sport Witness.
“He is very good at showing the players what to do and also at improving individual players. At Ajax, he obviously has the finances to grow the team with young players. For him, Man United would be another thing compared to what he is experiencing in Holland. He has to take this step forward in his career.”
The Red Devils have been without a permanent boss for almost four months since the sacking of Stam’s former teammate at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But with United potentially facing a five-year trophy drought come the end of this season, their ex-No.6 has told whoever takes up the post that they must lean on Cristiano Ronaldo to get the Red Devils firing again.
“Solskjaer has done a good job to bring the club back to the top five but lacks the extra quality to get back to winning ways. Rangnick came in, and some players struggled to adapt,” Stam added. “Ronaldo didn’t play in the derby, then scored three goals against Tottenham. It’s always difficult to understand what goes on in a dressing room, but Ronaldo showed his strength.
“You have to involve someone like him in decisions; you have to talk to him. He’s fundamental for the locker room; he helps you raise the level of the team. At Man United, they don’t always play well, they should dominate games more, and in my opinion, I think they should do more. I hope the club will make better choices next season; they need to get back to the top.”
Ten Hag, enjoying another sensational domestic season in Amsterdam and competing in the Champions League, has long been touted for an opportunity with the elite and directly responded to links with the Red Devils earlier this month. “At the moment, I am only working with Ajax and have no further thoughts on the future,” the Ajax manager stated, as quoted by Trouw.
“The focus is on this season. Right now I shouldn’t be the theme. The theme is: how are we going to win games?” Meanwhile, Rangnick has heaped praise on Ten Hag, reportedly his preferred choice to succeed him as permanent boss.
“So far we haven’t at all spoken about that, nobody, not just [football director] John Murtough but nobody else,” the acclaimed German coach recently revealed to Sky Sports. “We haven’t had that topic in the last weeks and months since I’m here.”
“I know my opinion [of who should take the job] but so far we haven’t spoken about it so this is what I can tell you. I don’t know him, to start with, as a person.
“Obviously, I see the development at Ajax since he’s been there, I know a little bit about his work when he was with Bayern Munich and that he is one of the top coaches in Europe that’s obvious but there are a few other top coaches.
“As I said, we haven’t spoken about any new manager so far, therefore we also didn’t speak about him.” While it may be some time until United’s decision is made, they are certainly not short of voices surrounding the situation.