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Why New Assistant Manager Mitchell van der Gaag Will Be So Important for Manchester United

Mitchell van der Gaag

It will come to the delight of Manchester United fans following weeks of disappointing results that Erik ten Hag will be completing his move to Old Trafford with the assistant he wanted to join him: Mitchell van der Gaag. According to Fabrizio Romano, there is an agreement in principle for Van der Gaag to join the club with Ten Hag from July 1, 2022.  

Manchester United Give Erik Ten Hag The Assistant He Wants in Mitchell van der Gaag

A Complete Rebuild

Although Van der Gaag was the favourite to join his fellow Dutchman on the red side of Manchester, there were also other candidates in the eyesight of the club. Former FC Twente and England National Team head coach Steve McClaren was also on the list of possible suitors after working alongside Ten Hag during his tenure in the Netherlands.  

The downfall of this club shows that an overhaul in all departments is required for any success to come their way and a complete change in fan-facing staff is a step in the right direction. There will unsurprisingly be many eyes on the development of this current squad under Ten Hag due to his lack of coaching experience in England, although he reportedly hopes to reunite Robin Van Persie with the Red Devils in a bid to alleviate some of the pressure of managing in a new league.  

The changing of the guard at Old Trafford appears to have started once again, with their chief scout among the multiple members of staff to have departed on Wednesday.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper, and club legend in the eyes of the fans, Edwin van der Sar has publicly approved of Van der Gaag’s coaching ability and has reported that he and the rest of the Ajax management were more than satisfied with his quality of work. Despite the positive relationship between the backroom staff and van der Gaag in Amsterdam, the option to depart and join Ten Hag on his new embarkment is an opportunity he can’t turn down.  

What Will van der Gaag Bring To Manchester United?   

Something that may go unnoticed by the fans but will be greatly appreciated amongst the squad is Van der Gaag’s ability to speak several languages fluently. Especially welcome will be his knowledge of Portuguese thanks to his coaching training in Portugal. The Manchester United squad has a flurry of Portuguese-speaking players, including star man Cristiano Ronaldo, and they will all benefit from this uncommon quality.  

Mitchell van der Gaag tends to focus his football philosophy on control and domination of ball possession and will try to integrate this style of play upon his arrival in the summer no doubt.  

Formerly a centre-back in his playing days, he is known to be a coach who poses importance on an organised defensive structure as well as man-management. The hands-on approach in terms of coaching that he and Erik Ten Hag possess will benefit the players. This also aligns with his understanding that as football develops, so do styles of both coaching and management and therefore coaches need to develop to get the best out of players.  

In an interview with The Mirror, he said: “I sit down with players every week and we look at how he has played together with the footage. As a result, I can demand much more and you also get more sense of responsibility from the player.  

“They can hide in a group. It’s not just fair-weather conversations either. If I’m not satisfied, I’ll say so. Then everyone will know where he stands.”


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