Incoming Manchester United manager and current Ajax boss, Erik ten Hag, has identified a pair of suitable candidates for assistant coaching duties when he arrives in Manchester in the summer: current Ajax assistant Mitchell van der Gaag and Feyenoord assistant and former United player Robin van Persie. And while reports suggest the club hasn’t yet reached out, former United assistant Steve McClaren is also a potential candidate to rejoin the club on ten Hag’s coaching staff.
Erik ten Hag wants to bring Mitchell van der Gaag, his assistant at Ajax, with him to Manchester United. He is also considering the possibility of adding Steve McClaren, the former England boss, to his backroom staff, and Robin van Persie. #MUFC [@hirstclass]— The United Devils (@TheUnitedDevils) April 12, 2022
Since there has been no official announcement of ten Hag’s arrival as yet, news of who will join his staff as assistants will likely not be confirmed until later. However, each of the candidates offers a familiarity with ten Hag, the club, or both. There may be some difficulty in bringing in van Persie due to is limited experience and post-Brexit measures in obtaining work permits, but the timing before the season starts may give the club some room to operate in applications and appeals on that.
Bringing in van der Gaag will no doubt be a bit more straightforward. He’s had experience coaching over the last decade since the end of his playing career, and has coached at both the senior and youth/reserve level. He was the manager of Ajax’s youth team from 2019-2021 before being promoted to ten Hag’s staff as assistant at the start of the 2021/22 campaign. He has experience implementing the style of play that ten Hag has instilled at Ajax at both senior and youth levels, and is an ideal partner for ten Hag to do the same in Manchester United’s structure.