Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag favourites emerge as core Man Utd group learn they’re safe from axe – for now

Erik Ten Hag, Ajax manager, speaking at a press conference after Eredivisie game v Sparta Rotterdam

Erik Ten Hag reportedly believes that his new Manchester United squad should be doing much better and he has identified his early favourites.

The Red Devils looked to be turning a corner under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season. He guided his old side to a second-placed finish in the Premier League. However, things have gone backwards this season.

United are scrapping for a top-four finish again, with Ralf Rangnick in charge.

The German has struggled to truly stamp his mark on the team knowing he is only the interim coach. Nevertheless, Ajax boss Ten Hag – soon to be the new permanent boss – is relishing getting stuck in.

The Dutchman will arrive as a host of players pack their bags for leaving. Indeed, six stars including Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are out of contract.

However, reports have claimed that Ten Hag could cull six more including Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford.

According to the latest from The Guardian, though, Rashford is in the core group that Ten Hag wants to keep.

The incoming manager believes Rashford is entering his peak years alongside Scott McTominay.

Behind the pair, Jadon Sancho is ‘on an upward trajectory’ in Ten Hag’s eyes and must stay. Furthermore, the new boss wants to keep academy stars such as Hannibal Mejbri, James Garner and Alejandro Garnacho.

Erik Ten Hag wants to get rid of 12 Manchester United players

Erik Ten Hag wants to get rid of 12 Manchester United players

Erik Ten Hag wants to get rid of 12 Manchester United players this summer as he starts his rebuild

As for the older players in the squad, Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane are reportedly definitely staying under Ten Hag.

The 52-year-old believes the duo are in the ‘pinnacle’ of their careers and will play a vital role.

Finally, Donny van de Beek will get a chance to save his Man Utd career under Ten Hag. The midfielder was one of the star men at Ajax under his fellow Dutchman until United snapped him up in 2020.

Since then, though, he has struggled for game time and is now out on loan at relegation-battling Everton.

Ten Hag and his Man Utd picks

Erik ten Hag, PSV v Ajax April 2022

Van de Beek and Rashford stand out as two players from Ten Hag’s reported favourites list.

First up, Rashford’s contract expires next summer although United are likely to activate their one-year option for him.

Nevertheless, he is a homegrown talent and boyhood United fan and, as such, will be aiming for a new deal as a top priority.

Van de Beek, meanwhile, is almost two years into his Old Trafford contract and he has yet to have a definitive impact on the team.

He has shown flashes of his talent when he has had the chance, but those opportunities have been few and far between.

Garner is the standout player from Ten Hag’s picks from the academy. The midfielder has starred on loan at Nottingham Forest recently and he could yet stay in the first team next season.