Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Rio Ferdinand reveals why Steve McClaren Man Utd return could be a Ten Hag masterstroke

Erik ten Hag, Steve McClaren November 2008

Rio Ferdinand believes that Steve McClaren will bring a much-needed winning mindset into Manchester United, if he returns to the club on Erik ten Hag’s coaching staff.

The former England boss is poised to become Ten Hag’s number two when he eventually arrives full-time at Old Trafford, having also worked in the same role under Sir Alex Ferguson 1999 and 2001.

McClaren famously implemented sports psychology methods into the United set-up during that time. And it appeared to work as United did the treble in his first season with the club.

Later in his career, McClaren also appointed Ten Hag as his assistant at FC Twente won the Dutch title in 2010.

The duo are now set for a role reversal at Old Trafford. And Ferdinand believes his coach will be a clever appointment.

Speaking on the FIVE YouTube show, he said: “What you get with Steve McClaren is somebody who is a football man. He loves the game, is enthusiastic, meticulous, cares about the details.

“Not just from a football point of view but mentally. And he understands what it takes at Man United to win, that’s important.

“I think he’ll be a good addition. What’s good with ten Hag is that he’s already got a relationship from before. And he will be able to steer him in the right direction.”

McClaren always ahead of the curve

Ferdinand also feels that McClaren’s handling of the mental side of the game will be critical.

That area of the game was not really considered an important facet of the game during his first spell at United, but McClaren went on to change all that.

And Ferdinand added: “He was always ahead of the curve. I liked his bravery in that (mental mindset work). Because at that time a lot of them players would have been like ‘what’s all this about, he’s never played football in his life’.

“That could have been the response but Steve McClaren was brave in bringing that element to the team. He wanted us to understand that part. You look now and he was ahead of his time in that sense.”

Ten Hag has already arrived in Manchester to begin preparations for the new season, with McClaren’s appointment imminent.

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