Erik ten Hag praised by Man Utd legend for establishing an ‘identity’ – ‘players are a lot happier’

Erik ten Hag during a training session Credit: Alamy
Erik ten Hag during a training session Credit: Alamy

Wayne Rooney is a big fan of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, who has brought an “identity” back to the club.

Ten Hag became United manager in May following Ralf Rangnick’s interim spell in charge.

It was a woeful 2021-22 campaign for the Red Devils, who finished sixth in the Premier League and failed to win a trophy.

Their poor form from last term carried over to this season, with Ten Hag losing his first two competitive games as boss.

United were beaten by Brighton at Old Trafford on matchday one before being thumped 4-0 at Brentford.

They bounced back with a statement victory over Liverpool and have since picked up huge wins at home to Tottenham and Arsenal.

There has been the occasional blip – like Sunday’s loss to Aston Villa or the 6-3 drubbing against local rivals Manchester City – but overall, it has been a good start for Ten Hag.

United face Fulham away on Sunday before the World Cup break.

You can tell the culture at the club has improved and that the dressing room was pretty toxic before Ten Hag’s arrival.

And club legend Rooney is impressed with the work Ten Hag is doing.

The former striker says he ‘knows’ that “players and staff are a lot happier” now and believes Ten Hag is “the right man for the job”.

“I think Ten Hag has done really well,” Rooney told talkSPORT.

“He’s come in and stamped his authority on the team, and for the first time in about two or three years I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United which I haven’t seen in the last two of three years.

“He’s shown his strength and his character with how he dealt with Cristiano [Ronaldo] at times with the stuff he’s been up to.

“He’s the right man for the job. I think it will take time but it’s a real step in the right direction to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.”

Asked if he has spoken much to Ten Hag, Rooney said: “To be honest, I haven’t met him.

“I had Steve McClaren at Derby [whose gone to Manchester United] who I know well and has gone in there, and I’m very close with Darren Fletcher so I know what he’s doing and how he’s going about his work.

“I know the players and staff are a lot happier than they have been over the last couple of years.”

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