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Ten Hag reveals when he decided to leave Ajax for 'great challenge' at Manchester United

5:11 PM GMT+4 12/05/2022
Erik ten Hag Ajax
The Dutch coach will be inheriting the managerial reins at Old Trafford, with it up to him to wake a sleeping giant from its slumber

Erik ten Hag has revealed when he decided to leave Ajax for Manchester United, with the Dutch coach readying himself for a “difficult but great challenge” at Old Trafford.

A deal with Ten Hag through to 2025, with the option for a 12-month extension, was confirmed by Man Utd on April 21.

The 52-year-old insists that an agreement was not in the pipeline for long before it was made official.

When did Erik ten Hag decide to join Man Utd?

Having just completed the third Eredivisie title triumph of his reign at Ajax, Ten Hag has shown he has what it takes to deliver success.

Quizzed by Voetbal International as to when he took the decision to swap Amsterdam for Manchester, Ten Hag said: “That was not so long ago. Actually only after the talks with Man Utd, which only started in the last international break, at the end of March.

“Those conversations were so good that I got the feeling: I want to take on that challenge. Then it started to come to life in my head and I made the decision that I would leave Ajax.”

Why did Erik ten Hag agree to become Man Utd manager?

The Dutchman could have been forgiven for shunning interest in favour of remaining in his comfort zone at Johan Cruyff Arena, but he is excited by the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson as Man Utd endeavour to get themselves back on the trophy trail.

Ten Hag said of agreeing to take on one of the most demanding roles in world football: “It felt like a difficult but great challenge. That is the most beautiful thing there is.

“There is something to build at United and something to gain. Manchester United is such a big name in football history. It feels like a challenge to put the club back on track of winning.

“Old Trafford is nicknamed the Theatre of Dreams for a reason. It is a club with name, fame and allure in international football.

“Everyone knows the history of the beautiful teams. From Sir Alex Ferguson of course, but also further back in time. The great team of the late fifties, which suddenly disappeared with the plane crash.

“The history is impressive, but I also started to delve into the present and the future. And the options that are available. They are there, also financially. If you also get a good feeling about the people there, then the picture is right and then the factors are present to take this step.”

Was anybody else in the frame to take charge?

Prior to Ten Hag being asked, there had been plenty of speculation regarding supposed interest from Old Trafford in current Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino.

There was even talk of a bid being made to lure ex-Chelsea and Inter coach Antonio Conte away from Tottenham.

Ten Hag added on the lengthy process: “I do know that Manchester United have gone through a very careful procedure.

“They also really knew a lot about me. They had done scouting, made analyses, gathered data, had interviews with people who had worked with me. Several rounds of discussions followed from there. So they didn't decide overnight. Neither did I.”

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