Dutch coach Fred Rutten opens up about snubbing Erik ten Hag offer to join his Manchester United backroom staff
Speaking to ESPN (h/t Metro), ex-Anderlecht manager Fred Rutten has opened up turning down an offer from incoming new Manchester United permanent boss Erik ten Hag to join his coaching team in the Premier League, saying he preferred to stay back with his family in Holland.
ten Hag was appointed as the new United manager a few weeks ago, which will see him leave his current side Ajax Amsterdam and move to Old Trafford at the end of the season. He will replace interim head coach Ralf Rangnick in the summer.
Rutten revealed that ahead of the Ajax coach’s move to Manchester, he was contacted by ten Hag about following him to England. However, the 59-year-old has opted to stay back in his native country and spend time with his family and grandchildren.
“It’s nice when you have grandchildren, who you see every now and then and who can play ball with.”
Having been rejected by Rutten, ten Hag is now planning to bring his current assistant coach at Ajax, Mitchell van der Gaag, to the Theatre of Dreams in the summer. The two are widely expected to recreate their magic from Amsterdam in Manchester and get the English side winning again.
“That is the case with PSV”
Rutten has previously been in charge of PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord, FC Twente, Schalke, and Anderlecht. Now, he is set to join former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy at PSV as part of his backroom staff.
The senior coach revealed why he turned down the job offer at United, saying that joining the Premier League team was like getting on a train and feeling you can’t get off it. The former Schalke man said that he wanted to feel comfortable in whatever role he stepped into, such as his new PSV job.
“At Manchester United you get on a train and you can’t get off it. I want to feel comfortable in something you step into. That is the case with PSV.”
ten Hag will have quite the task on his hands when he takes over at United in the summer, having to figure out a way to get the club to compete with the other top teams for silverware. The club has not won a trophy in five years, with the last title coming in 2017 in the form of the Europa League.
The Europa League is also where the Red Devils are likely to be headed next term, as they currently sit in sixth position and are being challenged by West Ham United for a spot in the European competition. It is hard to imagine that this is the same team that finished as runners-up in the Premier League last season.
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The Dutchman would clearly need all the help he can get to finally lead United to the days they witnessed under Sir Alex Ferguson, and Rutten would have made a fine addition to his backroom staff in that regard. The coach is hugely experienced and has worked in different leagues over his career, being able to assist ten Hag in leading one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Unfortunately for United and ten Hag, Rutten ruled himself out of the job and has committed to helping van Nistelrooy turn PSV into league champions again. We can’t hold that against him and instead, be thankful that he admitted he wasn’t ready for the task rather than finding it out later if he joined Old Trafford. Hopefully, van der Gaag can continue to help ten Hag lead the team to glory in England, just as he did in Holland.