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Erik ten Hag is getting as much wrong with young Manchester United players as he is getting right – Opinion

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Erik ten Hag has been under scrutiny this season, some of it has been harsh but there is one aspect of his time at the club that he may not be getting quite right.

One of the reasons Manchester United decided that Erik ten Hag from Dutch giants Ajax was the man to take the Red Devils forward was not only his style of play but his success with bringing through academy players.

Frenkie De Jong, Matthijs De Ligt, Donny van de Beek and Ryan Gravenberch were just four names who were brought through by the Dutch manager and this excited the fanbase.

Ten Hag deserves massive credit for giving Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, two vital cogs in the United first team, their chances but some players may feel hard done by.

Manchester United Training Session

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Ten Hag’s youth struggles

As mentioned, bringing in Mainoo and Garnacho deserves massive credit and starting the teenage midfielder over an experienced name like Sofyan Amrabat should be applauded.

However, other players have been treated less than stellar by the current United boss. Hannibal Mejbri looked promising on loan at Birmingham City and impressed in a brief spell in September but hasn’t been seen since, despite the midfield struggles and now looks set for a move to Sevilla.

Isak Hansen-Aaroen a prodigious talent who was put in the category A list for academy players according to the Manchester Evening News, essentially meaning he is good enough to start regularly, looks set to depart the club.


Alvaro Fernandez, currently on loan at Spanish side Granada, will also feel hard done by. The Spanish left-back was Preston North-End’s Young Player of the Season but did not receive a chance and was shipped out on loan for Sergio Reguilon, who has now returned to his parent club Tottenham Hotspur, following a poor loan spell.

Anthony Elanga, who is now performing consistently for Forest, was moved on after barely being given a chance to impress by the Dutchman.

Of course, James Garner is another name, who is also playing superbly well for Everton, while Teden Mengi was sold this summer for pennies without being given a chance. He is thriving at Luton. Ten Hag has let these academy players down massively.

Improvements needed

The FA Cup may well be the only competition that United could realistically win this season but the Dutchman refused to start any of the youth players on the periphery of the team against Wigan Athletic.

Dan Gore, Hansen-Aaroen, and Joe Hugill should feel hard done by that they weren’t given a cameo off the bench for the Red Devils. Omari Forson was handed a couple of minutes in stoppage time of the victory.

With a fourth-round clash against Newport County or Eastleigh coming up, Ten Hag has to allow a couple of these players to impress.

The Dutchman was brought in for this but, as of yet, has failed to bring in enough academy graduates.

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