Erik ten Hag supported to retain Manchester United job by Tom Huddlestone

Erik ten Hag supported to retain Manchester United job by Tom Huddlestone

Erik ten Hag has been backed by Tom Huddlestone to keep his job amid mounting uncertainty regarding the Dutchman’s future.

Manchester United are currently reviewing ten Hag’s standing at the club but Huddlestone – a player-coach for the club’s U21s up until last month – believes United are on a ‘positive trajectory’ with their current manager.

‘This year, they’ve been plagued by injuries, and not only injuries like all the other teams have bad, but it’s always been in the same sort of position, which has been in the defense,’ Huddlestone began in an exclusive chat with Mail Sport.

‘So I think that would be one thing. If everybody can stay fully fit, I think the trajectory of the club under this management is a positive one.’ 

He continued, ‘I think it’s gonna be a long process in general… I think the manager currently, especially last season, when he’s got his starting 11 fit, they’re as good as most teams in the league.’

Tom Huddlestone, seen facing Manchester City U21s, was a United player-coach for two years

Man United just finished eighth in the league under Erik ten Hag but won the FA Cup

Man United just finished eighth in the league under Erik ten Hag but won the FA Cup

Ten Hag’s second season at United saw three of his preferred back four miss significant time, with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw all dealing with long-term injuries.

Harry Maguire also missed time with calf and groin injuries while new signing Mason Mount missed four months with a calf injury of his own.

With Varane and Martinez back in the lineup, United deservedly beat rivals Man City in the FA Cup final (after finishing eighth in the league), though it may not save ten Hag’s job as the club have earmarked Gareth Southgate to replace him, according to the Independent.

Huddlestone, who began working with the U21s in 2022, also spoke of a ‘perfect two years’ in the player-coach role he occupied.

‘For somebody like myself, who wants to go into coaching longer term, and then eventually management, I think when you’re coming towards the end of your career that role is sort of a perfect transitional season or two,’ he said while speaking from The Soccer Tournament in North Carolina.

‘Because when you’re playing… you take for advantage a lot of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. The hours of preparation, understanding why coaches do certain sessions, setting the sessions up, analyzing the sessions afterwards, and all the preparation going into the opposition on a game to game basis. ‘

Huddlestone spoke to Mail Sport from The Soccer Tournament in North Carolina

Huddlestone spoke to Mail Sport from The Soccer Tournament in North Carolina

Huddlestone played alongside ex-Man City midfielder Stephen Ireland in the competition

Huddlestone played alongside ex-Man City midfielder Stephen Ireland in the competition

‘So it’s been excellent to see that side of it. And it’s given me a real hunger to move forward in my coaching career. And as I say, in two, three, fours years, whatever it may be, hopefully, become a manager one day.’

For now, the former England midfielder looks set to keep on playing and has high hopes for the Three Lions at this summer’s Euros.

‘In my lifetime, I think England every tournament they’ve been too [have] probably been favorites.

‘I think that England having come so close recently in major tournaments for the first time in a long time – not now or never, but it almost feels like with this group of players… especially in offensive areas then something special needs to happen. And no better place for England to win it than in Germany.’

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