Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren confirmed as Ten Hag finalises Man Utd backroom team

Mitchell van der Gaag, new Man Utd No 2

Erik ten Hag has finalised his backroom team at Manchester United with the club confirming the appointments of Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren.

Van der Gaag has long been expected to come in as Ten Hag’s assistant, having spent the year as his No 2 at Ajax. His appointment is believed to have been negotiated during United talks for Ten Hag. He arrives as part of the same compensation package United paid for Ten Hag at the time.

Van der Gaag previously coached Ajax’s Under-23s but was promoted by Ten Hag last summer. He has an excellent record for bedding in and developing young stars. As such, Van der Gaag will be seen as the perfect No 2 for the new United boss.

The two men enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Ajax winning the Eredivisie this season, though just missing out on the double, losing to PSV in the Dutch cup final.

Ten Hag and Mitchell van der Gaag will be joined at Old Trafford by McClaren. The former England boss returns to Old Trafford, having been assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson between 1999 to 2001.

Often treated with scorn due to his disappointing spell in charge of England, McClaren is actually one of the country’s most successful coaches of the 21st Century.

Having won the League Cup with Middlesbrough in 2004, he took them to the UEFA Cup final in 2006.

Greater success was to follow when he led FC Twente to Eredivise title glory in 2010. It was the first time in their 45-year history they had won it.

And it was at Twente where McClaren first made contact with a young Ten Hag. The Dutchman worked as McClaren’s No 2 at the Dutch club and have remained friends since.

Ten Hag has huge rebuild on his hands

Ten Hag has an enormous job in rebuilding Manchester United.

The squad has just finalised the 2021/22 season with a mere 58 points. That accounts for the lowest total they have ever achieved in Premier League history. Put into context, newly-promoted Leeds finished on 59 points last season.

As such, Ten Hag, who was in the stands to watch them lose to Crystal Palace on Sunday, has a huge job on his hands.

He will reportedly begin work by ruthlessly axing 10 players in an effort to save the club £80m a year in wages.

Off the field, much needs to change too, with a whole new ethic and ethos brought to the club.

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There are also clearly bridges to rebuild with divisions existing within the squad and the players. That is, unfortunately, best served by stories on Sunday about the club knowing who leaked a story to the press about Harry Maguire.

As such, the appointment of his two trusted allies will help serve Ten Hag’s needs well.

McClaren also brings with him a depth of football knowledge and experience. He also possesse a deep understanding of what is required to succeed at Old Trafford.