Erik ten Hag

Who would Erik most love to manage?

Wednesday 18 January 2023 09:00

Erik ten Hag has revealed the one player in football, past or present, whom he would most like to manage.

Of course, the 52-year-old already has a whole host of world-class players at his disposal as boss of Manchester United.

He also worked with some premier talent at Ajax but, if money, time and opportunity was no object, who would his dream squad member be?

Erik barely hesitates when answering that question, submitted by Mark, in the Republic of Ireland, as part of the first in our ask-the-manager series.

Ask Erik | The first episode Video

Ask Erik | The first episode

Our ask-the-boss series begins with questions on Pellistri, McCarthy and Ten Hag’s ideal player to manage…

“I would prefer to have Johan Cruyff and to have him play for Manchester United,” Erik said.

“It would be magnificent what he could contribute to this club.”

Arguably the single most important figure in Dutch football history - maybe even in European football history - Cruyff played a key part in the ‘Total Football’ philosophy which dominated the 1970s, a decade in which Ajax won three straight European Cups with Cruyff in the team.

Johan was Player of the Tournament at the 1974 World Cup, when the Netherlands were beaten by West Germany in the final and, by that time, he’d moved to Barcelona, where he won the Liga title in his first season as a player.

Cruyff was probably the best footballer of the 1970s and his success continued into the next decade, with Feyenoord, before he became one of Europe’s greatest coaches, as boss of Ajax and then Barca, where he ended the Catalans' long wait for Europe's top trophy.

He inspired many of today’s best managers, including Pep Guardiola and also Ten Hag himself, with our boss recently citing him as one of his four coaching idols.

Of course, the great man's son, Jordi, was at United between 1996 and 2000, and is currently sporting advisor of our next European opponents, Barcelona.

A recent viral clip has also resurfaced of a 13-year-old Erik telling Cruyff how he thought coaches should talk to young players - showing Ten Hag was thinking like a manager even from a young age!

Cruyff sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 68 but we think he'd have been a brilliant United player in any of our great teams down the years.

Do you have a question for Erik? Submit it now and you could get a reply from the Reds manager very soon.