Man Utd considering peculiar Ten Hag role reversal, as household name up for assistant role

Erik ten Hag, Ajax manager January 2022

Manchester United are considering Steve McClaren as the assistant to Erik ten Hag if the Dutchman becomes the club’s new manager, a report has claimed.

Ten Hag has become one of the leading contenders to take over from Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford. The Dutchman has impressed at Ajax and managed to sustain success despite sanctioning several major sales.

He has never managed in the Premier League – let alone a major European league.

Indeed, aside from Ajax, Ten Hag has taken on further Eredivisie experience and managed Bayern Munich’s second team.

The Guardian therefore reports that McClaren is in consideration to be the 52-year-old’s assistant at Man Utd.

McClaren began his career as a manager in 1995 at Oxford United and is currently in an advisor role at Derby County.

In between, he has had a chequered record in the dugout. His spell as England manager saw him attract hefty criticism, but he won the League Cup with Middlesbrough in 2004.

For Man Utd, though, his spell as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson between 1999 and 2001 stands out the most.

McClaren helped the Red Devils to the Treble in his first season. He then clinched two further Premier League triumphs alongside Ferguson.

Erik ten Hag and Manchester United hold talks about manager position

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has met with Manchester United and had positive talks about becoming the new Man United manager

United realise that Ten Hag has no previous Premier League experience on his CV and want his assistant to be steeped in knowledge of the top flight.

McClaren has managed 218 Premier League games, including five full seasons with Middlesbrough and a spell with Newcastle.

But, McClaren and Ten Hag also have history after a spell together in the Netherlands. McClaren managed FC Twente in the 2008/09 season and kept Ten Hag – who had been there for two years – for a third season.

The pair guided Twente to second in their season together. Ten Hag then went to manage PSV Eindhoven, while McClaren clinched the Eredivisie title for Twente in 2010.

As such, Ten Hag having McClaren as his assistant would signal a switch-around in roles for the pair.

Ten Hag focused on Ajax amid McClaren, Derby struggles

Erik ten Hag, Steve McClaren November 2008

Ten Hag moved to Ajax in 2017 and his contract runs until the end of next season.

Man Utd would reportedly have to pay £1.7million to prise the Dutchman away in the coming weeks and months. Ten Hag recently broke his silence on the Old Trafford murmurings, admitting that Man Utd are a “great club with great fans”.

However, he parked any potential talks on his future until the end of the campaign.

Ajax exited the Champions League at the last 16 to Benfica. Nevertheless, they remain four points ahead of PSV in the race for the Eredivisie title.

McClaren, meanwhile, is back at Derby for a fifth time in his player and manager career – with his latest stint perhaps the most pivotal.

The club are still in administration and seeking a takeover. What’s more, significant points penalties have put their Championship status in peril, although boss Wayne Rooney is leading the fight against relegation.