Man Utd confirm return of McClaren and appointment of Van der Gaag as Ten Hag assistants

Joe Williams
Man Utd assistant Steve McClaren watches his side play

Man Utd have confirmed the expected appointments of Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag as Erik ten Hag’s assistant managers.

Former Newcastle United boss McClaren was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson from 1999 to 2001 before leaving to join Middlesbrough as manager, who he guided to their first major honour in their history in 2004 by winning the League Cup.

Ten Hag, who started work at Man Utd last Monday, worked under McClaren at FC Twente before going on to be a hugely successful manager in his own right at Ajax.

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And now the roles will be reversed as McClaren becomes one of Ten Hag’s assistants with the Red Devils announcing the appointment with a statement on Sunday night.

An article on the club’s official website read:

‘Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren as Erik ten Hag’s assistant coaches, as the new manager’s backroom team takes shape.

‘Van der Gaag and McClaren, who were in attendance at United’s final game of the season at Crystal Palace, have enjoyed highly successful spells alongside Ten Hag, and both bring a wealth of European experience and hands-on coaching expertise to United.

‘Van der Gaag’s appointment is subject to Governing Body Endorsement from the FA and a UK visa. He has spent the last year as Ten Hag’s assistant at Ajax, having previously enjoyed a two-year spell in charge of the Amsterdam club’s reserve side. His playing career included experience of British football, with two years in the Scottish top flight with Motherwell.’

Rio Ferdinand recently backed the return of McClaren as he “understands what it takes at Man Utd to win”.

The former Man Utd defender said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel: “I think he is coming in as a coach, a shoulder to lean on, somebody who can give advice at the right times. Maybe eyes and ears.

“In terms of judging him from his management in previous years gone by, I don’t think it’s irrelevant. What you do get with Steve McClaren is someone who is a football man, loves that game, is so enthusiastic, meticulous, cares about the details.

“Not just from a football point of view but also mentally, and he understands what it takes at Man Utd to win. That’s important.”

Ferdinand added: “I think he will be a good addition. What’s good for Ten Hag is that they have already got a relationship from before which is pure and he will be able to steer him in the right direction.

“I don’t care who you are or where you come from, when you come to Man Utd, especially if you haven’t been at a club like that, of that statute and that size – Ajax are a big club with all due respect but not the size of Man Utd – when you do come into the door here, it takes a bit of getting used to. To have that little bit of help immediately is a real good decision from him.”