Erik ten Hag may unleash his own Matthijs de Ligt at Manchester United

There is no doubting the magnitude of the challenge that awaits Erik ten Hag at Manchester United this summer.

After a forgettable 2021/22 campaign, which is now just two chapters away from concluding, United will be looking forward to welcoming ten witches to Old Trafford this summer to usher in a new dawn. The Ajax boss was officially announced as the new boss of the club a fortnight ago and he will get down to business before the start of next season.

One of the biggest challenges the Dutchman faces is transforming the status of the first-team squad. Numerous players are expected to leave the club this summer, including the likes of Paul Pogba Y edison cavanimeaning that new additions are not expected to be in short supply.

READ MORE: Manchester United’s 25-man dream squad, including four new signings for Erik ten Hag’s rebuild

But while there is no debate over whether or not United need new faces, they already have some players on their books who could feel like new signings. That’s because people like Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi and james garnerwho has spent time on loan in the Championship this season, will enjoy his chances to impress Ten Hag during pre-season, before the real action begins in August.

Considering that United have experienced no shortage of defensive weaknesses this season, the returns of Laird and Mengui it could mean that Ten Hag pays special attention to his abilities. Laird, though his loan spell at Bournemouth proved uninspiring, showed what he is capable of during his spell at Swansea City earlier this season, producing a number of eye-catching displays.

Mengi, meanwhile, showed signs of promise at Birmingham City until injury ended his season. With his minor injury, as well as the fact that the Championship season is now just one game away from reaching its conclusion, it has been confirmed that Mengi has returned to Carrington to train with United for the remainder of the season, in a Attempt to rebuild your fitness levels.

An article published in United club website on Wednesday said: “Teden is re-integrating himself into first-team training but unfortunately he will not be ready in time for the Blues’ final match. The second-city club have kindly given permission for Teden to continue training with United, with our season not ending until May 22, in order to get back to full fitness.”

Mengi, who turned 20 last Saturday, is seen as having a bright future ahead of him and has already made two senior appearances for United. His first United appearance was in 2019 and he made a strong impression on the former manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjærwho waxed lyrical about him just under a year later, comparing him to former Ajax ace Matthijs de Ligt, who, of course, became an excellent centre-back under Ten Hag.

Solskjaer, speaking in September 2020, said: “Teden has definitely impressed me. It’s different to trust defenders on the big stage, of course it is.

Teden Mengi has returned to Manchester United to train.
Teden Mengi has returned to Manchester United to train.

“You have to make sure he’s ready for that, you see examples from Ajax, who play in a different league, but Matthijs de Ligt, they made him captain when he was 18. You can see something special in them.”

“Teden has something special about him. It’s about picking the right time to give him a chance.”

You might think that comparing him to De Ligt would surely attract Ten Hag’s attention, even if Solskjaer was referring to his leadership qualities. But considering that Mengi has played in the Championship, as opposed to being a regular at Old Trafford, he suggests that he still has a long way to go in his development.

However, working alongside a manager renowned for developing young players and getting the best out of them, Ten Hag’s presence at United from this summer could be just what Mengi needs. The centre-back, who made ten appearances during his loan spell at Birmingham, has played once for United this season, coming off the bench against Young Boys in the Champions League in December.

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