Roy Hodgson has suggested Erik ten Hag could follow in the footsteps of Johan Cruyff and become a “wonder manager” at Manchester United.
Ten Hag’s appointment at Old Trafford was officially announced by United on Thursday morning, with the current Ajax boss set to take over at the end of the season. The 52-year-old becomes the club’s second Dutch manager in their history, following on from Louis van Gaal’s reign from 2014 to 2016.
Like Van Gaal, Ten Hag made his name in Amsterdam. His exploits with Ajax led to him becoming United’s preferred candidate earlier this year and he is now set to take over at a crucial time at Old Trafford.
Asked for his opinion on Ten Hag’s appointment during his pre-match press conference, Hodgson admitted to having limited knowledge of United’s new manager. However, the former England boss does believe his background with Ajax should offer plenty of encouragement for United.
“I don’t know him, so I really can’t make it [a judgement],” Hodgson said. “I mean, Ralf [Rangnick] when he was appointed and I was asked that question, I do know Ralf and have contact with him, so I could say a few words about him.
“It would be very foolish of me to tell you anything about Erik ten Hag because, quite frankly, other than like any football supporter, I know he’s done a wonderful job at Ajax and had great success, not just in the league but in Europe, so that I know like anybody else. But that’s as far as my knowledge stretches, I’m afraid.”
Hodgson added: “It’s Dutch football and Premier League football. Of course, there’s a difference between those two.
“But you can’t deny it, the success that Ajax have had with him and with lots of other coaches before him. They’ve had a succession of incredible legendary coaches going back to Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, Louis van Gaal. You’re talking about a list of people really, all of whom became recognised as some of the best coaches ever to grace our game.
“So there’s no reason to believe that Erik ten Hag, who they’ve obviously given due diligence in terms of their appointment, isn’t just as good as those three I’ve just named. And if he gets into that category of managers, then they’ve got a wonder manager.”