Erik ten Hag handed first Man Utd blow as assistant turns down Old Trafford role

Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been knocked back in his bid to bring an assistant with him to Old Trafford, with his choice instead set to link up with an ex-Red Devils star

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Rangnick confirms plans to hold talks with incoming boss ten Hag

Erik ten Hag has suffered an early blow to his hopes of bringing back the glory days to Manchester United.

The 52-year-old is currently organising his backroom Old Trafford team but has been knocked back by a trusted confidant. Dutch coach Fred Rutten has revealed that he recently turned down Ten Hag’s offer to join him in Manchester, instead choosing to be part of new PSV boss and former Red Devils striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s coaching staff.

While Ten Hag is expected to take his assistant at Ajax, Mitchell van der Gaag, along with him, Rutten – former manager of PSV, Feyenoord Twente, Schalke and Anderlecht – has declined the chance to work at Old Trafford and gave a clear explanation why.

“I have a family, I have grandchildren. I want to see them every now and then,” the 59-year-old told ESPN, via Metro. “At Manchester United you get on a train and you can’t get off it. I want to feel comfortable in something you step into. That is the case with PSV. It’s nice when you have grandchildren, who you see every now and then and who you can play ball with.”

Rutten, who left Anderlecht three years ago and has not coached since, went on to say regarding his new job: “Of course I spoke extensively with Ruud van Nistelrooy. He triggered me to give up the slightly freer life that I now have. He sat in the room with me and we talked for two hours about football and other things. And when talking about those other things in life, he also triggered me.

“I think Ruud already has some experience, he has already trained a number of teams, at Jong PSV and their under-18s. He has also acquired experience from the Dutch national team. Ruud is ready, that’s what it seems to me. I am positively critical. For me, PSV stands for a Champions League club. Everything you do should serve that thought.”

Rutten has turned Ten Hag down

Have your say! Who should Ten Hag bring to Man Utd as part of his coaching staff? Give us your picks here.

While Ten Hag is confident about bringing right-hand man Van der Gaag from Ajax, the acclaimed tactician will also be able to take players from the Eredivisie leaders when the summer transfer window opens. “There are no agreements about [not signing Ajax players],” Ten Hag confirmed ahead of his current side’s trip to AZ Alkmaar. “I now have very good players, but it’s not an issue at all.”

Another man he hopes to have in the Old Trafford dugout is former United assistant Steve McClaren, who helped Sir Alex Ferguson lead the Red Devils to the famous treble in 1999.

The Old Trafford hierarchy had reportedly pushed back on the idea at first, but Ten Hag’s strong relationship with McClaren – having worked under him at Twente – and his desire to be accompanied by someone who knows United well is believed to have made club chiefs change their minds.

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