Erik ten Hag has spoken a lot with media recently, and concerning several high profile topics. Here are some of the topics addressed and what he’s said.
Harry Maguire remains captain and first-choice defender
There have been a lot of easy talking points around Harry Maguire over the course of last season and this summer. He was poor in the campaign, and suffered terrible abuse for it off the pitch, including a bomb threat against his family and boos whenever he received the ball. However, despite the fans being quick to make him a scapegoat Erik ten Hag has become the third United manager to keep him as captain, and reiterated his importance to the team as a player as well as a leader.
Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic asked recently as well whether ten Hag considers Maguire a first-choice player, and this was his response:
“I think he is. He’s proved it in the past but he also has to prove it in the present time and in the future.
“He has played 46 times for England. Harry is really impressive and I expect a lot from him.
“But there is also internal competition and that is what a club like Man United needs. You cannot win with 11 players.
“We need a squad, especially this season with so many games. We have the Europa League, the Premier League and the World Cup so we need a full squad with high-quality players, not quantity.”
The talk around Maguire has been a popular one among media talking with club figures. Recently Mikael Silvestre spoke about it with Lord Ping, claiming Maguire is probably the best option right now among a few other suitable candidates.
“At this moment, there’s not a lot of players who are distinguished and who could be captain straight away,” Silvestre said. “It’s easy to have continuity with Harry as he’s respected in the dressing room.
“We need to give him time to get back to his best so it’s the right call at the moment for the manager.
“What United have is many players who are leaders, Cristiano, Bruno, Varane or David could all be captains. You have all these experienced guys who have to take responsibility.”
Squad leaks to be stamped out under ten Hag
Leaks from the dressing room became a big problem last season as things began to spiral. Fallout after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure worsened rifts between players, and the situation was made worse by a seemingly collective disregard for the authority of Ralf Rangnick, his staff, and his methods in management and training. For now that all seems to have dissipated some, likely due to the reset of a summer break as well as the absence of a certain player who much of the squad dislike. However, ten Hag has stated his intention to maintain team unity, and to punish the disobedient members undermining that effort if need be.
Quotes pulled from Erik ten Hag’s interview with Laurie Whitwell.
”On such issues I’m quite severe. But I think it is on the players themselves to also be severe to each other, because if they want to achieve success they have to stick together. Sometimes there is a need for correction.” @lauriewhitwell— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) July 18, 2022
Speaking of building a “team”...
Lisandro Martinez strengthens “team” as well as “squad”
The arrival of Lisandro Martinez might not have come in time for him to join the tour, but he will be an important addition to the Manchester United defense no doubt. He was a loyal servant at Ajax, and there’s every indication that he’s a 100% effort player who maintains focus and intensity throughout a season.
Erik ten Hag has spoken highly since being reunited with the Argentine defender, and it sounds as though he will be a key addition to maintaining a unified team as well as a contributor on the pitch.
Erik ten Hag on Lisandro Martínez: "He’s a warrior and I think the fans will admire him. He has an attitude, fighting spirit. He brings aggressiveness in the game, in a good way. I think we need that." #mulive [mu]— utdreport (@utdreport) July 18, 2022
Erik ten Hag: "I think we need a squad that is also good and deep. I analysed and #mufc last year were quite vulnerable over the left part of the defence. He [Martínez] is left-footed and that is an advantage in possession but also in defending." #mulive— utdreport (@utdreport) July 18, 2022
Erik ten Hag: "He’s [Martínez] not the tallest but he is quite good in the air. I feel comfortable with that. Of course, you need the right balance. He has good timing, that’s one of his capabilities. We bring him in to not strengthen the squad, but the team." #mulive— utdreport (@utdreport) July 18, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo remains part of the plan
Wantaway Ronaldo has not been able to find a willing suitor in his efforts to secure a move away from United for a second time in his career. Seeing as they can’t move him (unfortunately) it seems that Ronaldo will either have to commit to sitting out or report back in time for the season. Erik ten Hag has had to discuss him, and has given the typical answer you’d expect in a situation where he’s caught between the club’s narrative and what the player is doing to try and get out.