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Man Utd boss Ten Hag names his coaching idols as Cruyff & Van Gaal make the cut

16:46 GMT+3 10/01/2023
Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has named the four coaching idols that have acted as an inspiration to him in a distinguished managerial career.
  • Dutch coach took Red Devils' reins in 2022
  • Previously impressed at Ajax
  • Looks to fellow countrymen for inspiration

WHAT HAPPENED? The 52-year-old Dutchman became the latest tactician to be charged with the task of emulating Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements at Old Trafford when being handed the reins by Premier League heavyweights in the summer of 2022. Ten Hag earned that opportunity on the back of productive stints at Utrecht and Ajax, with the likes of Johan Cruyff and former Red Devils coach Louis van Gaal delivering the lessons that have allowed an ambitious character to flourish.

WHAT THEY SAID: Ten Hag has told Premier League Productions when asked to pick out those that have inspired him the most: "The best one, the famous one, was the manager of FC Twente, Kees Rijvers. Later on, he was the manager of PSV [Eindhoven], where he won the UEFA Cup later on [1977-78], and [was] also manager of the Dutch side, the Netherlands. Previously, he was a very good player and I also had the luck, for two years, that he was my coach at FC Twente and I learnt a lot about him, about organisation in football, about his philosophy, about playing from the back, attacking football and about team spirit. But also other managers inspired me, definitely, like Louis van Gaal, Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, they are the big inspirers.

"You never know if you go in that direction finally but, as a player, I already did some courses so that I already had some badges. When I was playing as a professional player, I kept my C and B Licence and the moment I quit, I go for the A Licence."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rijvers is a legend at FC Twente on the back of his exploits there, while three-time Ballon d’Or winner Cruyff made Barcelona one of the most exciting teams on the planet in the late 1980s and early 90s. Van Gaal also spent time at Camp Nou in his career – while also managing United and the Dutch national team on three occasions – while Michels is the only man to have delivered a major trophy for the Oranje after overseeing a triumphant European Championship quest in 1988.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Ten Hag is hoping to follow in those illustrious footsteps, with a slow start to his tenure at Old Trafford being overcome to have United in contention for Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League honours during the 2022-23 campaign.