Erik ten Hag urged to make Man Utd job his own in only "great opportunity"

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Nigel de Jong has urged Erik ten Hag to ignore the gloom surrounding Old Trafford.

The Dutchman, 52, is taking over Manchester United from interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of this season on a three-year deal, which can be extended by a year.

Ten Hag led Ajax to a league and cup double in 2019 and 2021. The Eredivisie heavyweights also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019 and were within a minute of making the final, only to be derailed by a stunning Tottenham comeback. But Ten Hag will now have to show he's capable of making the step from highly-rated coach in a less competitive league, to one at the highest level of the game.

De Jong, who was a Premier League title winner with Manchester City in 2012, is eager to see his compatriot prove the doubters wrong.

“Even though he's going to manage the red half of Manchester, I really hope he's going to be a huge success,” he said.

“But there's always going to be backlash with him being a more unknown coach and not being an elite coach, as we're always talking about. There's already a lot of negativity. But it also comes with how United are set up at this stage, with the team that they have and the chaos that's been created behind the scenes.

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“And then you've got him coming in as the manager that he is now, not having the biggest name in world football.

“It's not only from the English media at this stage, but also the Dutch media. We're hearing a lot of negative signals.”

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata are out of contract this summer. Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly and Marcus Rashford have also all been linked with moves away from the club. De Jong reckons Ten Hag will look to shake things up.

"He needs to have his own recruitment,” he added. "It doesn't mean the majority of players need to leave, but he needs to be straightforward and honest with them and say: 'you're not going to be my first choice, but everybody starts from zero and I'm bringing my own players in.'

"That's the way you go forward, especially for him. It's very important as he did such a good job at Ajax, you then only get one great opportunity afterwards."

De Jong was speaking to beIN SPORTS, the global sports broadcaster

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