Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United will be boosted by the return of Steve McClaren as Sir Alex Ferguson‘s former No.2 knows “what it takes to win” at the club.
The former England national team boss is set to rejoin the Red Devils and reunite with incoming manager Erik ten Hag, with whom he worked at FC Twente. McClaren is expected to become the latest name to join the Dutchman’s backroom staff, following the news that Mitchell van der Gaag will follow the 52-year-old from Ajax.
Familiar surroundings await McClaren upon his Old Trafford return, with the 61-year-old having been assistant to Ferguson for two years, which included helping United to a historic treble in 1999. And it’s McClaren’s know-how of winning trophies with United that former Red Devil Ferdinand believes will be “important” to restoring the club to the glory days of yesteryear.
Discussing McClaren’s impending appointment on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “I think he is coming in as a coach, a shoulder to lean on, somebody who can give advice at the right times. Maybe eyes and ears.
“In terms of judging him from his management in previous years gone by, I don’t think it’s irrelevant. What you do get with Steve McClaren is someone who is a football man, loves that game, is so enthusiastic, meticulous, cares about the details.
“Not just from a football point of view but also mentally, and he understands what it takes at Man Utd to win. That’s important.”
Have your say! Do you think Steve McLaren will be a good appointment for Man Utd? Give us your prediction here.
After gaining experience at Ferguson’s side at Old Trafford, McClaren then embarked on a nomadic managerial career of his own, which included a deplorable stint in charge of the Three Lions. The former Middlesborough boss went on to manage FC Twente following his England dismissal and it was with the Eredivisie side that he teamed up with Ten Hag.
Back then, McClaren was the boss with United’s incoming manager his assistant, but this around, it appears the roles will be reversed. Regardless, Ferdinand believes the pair’s previous relationship will be of significant benefit to Ten Hag with regards to helping him settle and acclimatise to his new surroundings at a club of United’s stature.
“I think he will be a good addition,” Ferdinand added. “What’s good for Ten Hag is that they have already got a relationship from before which is pure and he will be able to steer him in the right direction.
“I don’t care who you are or where you come from, when you come to Man Utd, especially if you haven’t been at a club like that, of that statute and that size – Ajax are a big club with all due respect but not the size of Man Utd – when you do come into the door here, it takes a bit of getting used to. To have that little bit of help immediately is a real good decision from him.”
Ten Hag has already set about getting to work with his new club despite the fact United are yet to complete their current Premier League campaign. The Dutchman, who is understood to be contemplating attending United’s final match of the season against Crystal Palace on Sunday, reportedly agreed to terminate his Ajax contract early in order to fly to Manchester on Monday and set about making plans ahead of a seismic summer of change at the club.
Ten Hag was expected to travel to Curacao with his Ajax team to celebrate their Eredivisie league triumph, however scrapped such plans in order to begin work with United. Official confirmation of Ten Hag’s coaching team is expected to be announced over the next week or so.