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Nigel de Jong gives verdict on Ten Hag’s Manchester United signings

Even though he is ex-City, Nigel de Jong has a close interest in Dutch football and would have followed Erik ten Hag’s career a lot earlier than most of us.

Ten Hag won three Eredivisie titles during his time at Ajax. He also reached the Champions League semi-finals in what was one of the biggest triumphs of his managerial career to date, whilst in charge of the Dutch giants.

Despite losing his first two competitive games in charge at United, Ten Hag is in the process of turning this around after settling more on his favoured XI.

New signing Antony has come in to add a bit of trickery on the flanks, while our back four looks much stronger following the additions of Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez. Casemiro has yet to make an impression in midfield, but take nothing away from Christian Eriksen, who has been a gem of a free transfer.

De Jong has praised Ten Hag for managing all the egos in the United dressing room. He adds that he thinks Martinez would run through fire for the manager after following him from Ajax this summer.

Speaking to the Mirror, former Manchester City and Netherlands midfielder De Jong said: “Erik ten Hag has 23 egos in his squad at Manchester United. You can have the best players in the world, but you can only start building a proper side when you can turn all those egos into a team.

“Ten Hag has chosen his players carefully. I can see one thing, he has picked players with whom he can win a war. I can see the strategy already. Look at Lisandro Martinez in the team. He has that killer mentality. Martinez will run through fire for Ten Hag.

“Antony is adding swagger. He too has a mentality what we call ‘over my dead body’. I have seen that side of Antony plenty of times. Man United have done really good business in my opinion. The spirit in the team has changed.”

SN’s verdict

I think Ten Hag has bought really well this summer. Every manager should build from the back and he may need to reassess the goalkeeper situation a year down the line, but Malacia and Martinez have both been superb additions.

Casemiro will come good, as will Antony, but I suspect they will need some time to adjust to the Premier League. It’s not every player that comes as settles like a fish does to water.

Of course, it’s going to be easier for Eriksen, who already knew how to dictate the tempo of games in the Premier League before signing for United. That’s a real plus and we’re starting to see that on the pitch.

More Stories Antony Casemiro Christian Eriksen Erik ten Hag Lisandro Martinez Manchester United Nigel De Jong tyrell malacia