Ajax Amsterdam manager Erik ten Hag plays down Manchester United links amid English lessons rumours
Speaking to BT Sport ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Benfica (h/t Express), Ajax Amsterdam boss Erik ten Hag has brushed away links of him becoming the next permanent manager of Manchester United.
The Dutchman is one of the favourites to take over at Old Trafford once Ralf Rangnick completes his tenure as interim boss of the club in the summer. Given the fine work he has been doing in the Eredivisie with Ajax, it is clear to see why he is so highly rated.
When quizzed about his continued links to the job in Manchester at the end of the season, the 52-year-old commented that his only focus that day was on the match against Benfica, and he does not pay attention to any other subjects.
“I don’t think it is the issue today. It is about today’s game and I focus on that, I don’t pay any attention to other subjects. I only focus on Ajax v Benfica.”
The Dutchman would later go on to see his side lose narrowly to Benfica in the second leg of the Round of 16 tie, being on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline at home as the Portuguese giants progressed to the quarterfinals of the competition.
“Well educated in English”
It was said that the 52-year-old is taking English lessons in preparation for a move to the Premier League, as he continues to be linked to become the next permanent manager at Old Trafford. As a native Dutch speaker, his attempts at being fluent in the English language sparked wild rumours.
When quizzed about this, ten Hag brushed away the suggestion and said that the rumour was not true, because he already speaks English due to the number of foreign players in the club and that people in Holland were well educated in the language.
“No [not practicing English]. That’s not true. We talk English, we talk English in the club because we have a lot of foreign players. In Holland we get well educated in English.”
Although his side could not progress further in the Champions League, Ajax is still in contention to win trophies this year as they currently sit on top of the Eredivisie table. If they end up winning it by the summer, ten Hag will have managed a hat-trick of league titles with the club.
He has been vastly successful in the Netherlands while in charge of Ajax, known for building strong squads and competing for every trophy. Even in Europe, he was the talk of the town for leading the Dutch side to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019.
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Man United meanwhile are suffering the same issues that ten Hag has worked hard to improve in Holland. The Red Devils have not won a trophy since 2017, and with several players out of contract in the coming few years, a rebuild will be needed to turn the team into world-beaters.
Although the Ajax boss has brushed aside links of him moving to England at the end of the season, only time will tell what happens in the summer and whether his Champions League exit with the Dutch side changes the situation.