Dutch cycling guru hails Erik ten Hag after visiting Manchester United training camp

Sporting director of the Dutch cycling team Jumbo-Visma, Merijn Zeeman, has spoken for the first time since visiting Manchester United’s mid-season training camp in Spain last season.

It is evident from the interview, courtesy of Algemeen Dagblad, that Erik ten Hag is open to adding ideas from different sports to his own philosophy as a football coach.

That’s the reason he invited Zeeman to United’s training camp in the first place. He also wanted feedback from the cycling specialist – not on the standard of football but the culture, structure and strategy.

Zeeman shares a mutual admiration with Ten Hag and reveals he spent time with the United squad last season.

“Ten Hag is also an example for me. Look what he is doing at Manchester United now. In sports people often think: we put a man in and then it will work. But it starts with a culture, then with a structure, then a strategy and then you continue.

“Erik and I recognise that in each other and we think very much the same. In the winter I visited him for a few days, at a Manchester United training camp in Spain.

“He said to me: ‘Tell me what you see, give feedback’. He is very open to that.”

He added that the pair have been in contact for years.

“I did speak to Erik ten Hag at an earlier stage, a few years ago. That was not about a director’s position. It was about working with him. Not football-related, but about the organisation, about the team and the structure. He wanted to brainstorm with me about that.”

Ten Hag is preparing for his second season at Old Trafford and expectations should be higher after a successful campaign in 2022/23. United won their first piece of silverware in six years and returned to the Premier League’s top four.

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