Manchester United ‘to give Mike Phelan a bigger role’ in surprising Erik ten Hag twist

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Manchester United plan to give Mike Phelan a bigger role than before under Erik ten Hag, according to reports. The Red Devils coach had been expected to leave following the appointment of the Dutchman. However, it now seems like the Red Devils will tap into his expertise as they look to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

Manchester United have named Ten Hag as their new manager, with the 52-year-old fending off interest from Mauricio Pochettino to secure the job at Old Trafford.

Phelan had previously been expected to leave, having cut a marginalised figure during Ralf Rangnick’s spell as interim manager.

But, now, The Sun say the Red Devils coach is set to be given a ‘bigger role’ instead, with Phelan primed to continue working at the club.

It’s likely he’ll work with players on the training ground, like he did when both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost.

As well as bringing in Ten Hag, the Red Devils have also secured the appointments of Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag.

McClaren previously worked at United under Ferguson, becoming a key ally to the Scot as the Red Devils won the treble in 1999.

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He’s had spells in management since, succeeding at the likes of FC Twente and Middlesbrough but struggling with the likes of England and Newcastle.

McClaren was manager of FC Twente, with Ten Hag as his No 2.

But the roles have now been reversed and the 61-year-old will now be working under his former assistant instead.

Van der Gaag was a vital asset for Ten Hag at Ajax, with the duo masterminded three Eredivisie title wins during their spell in Amsterdam together.

And he’s also signed on the dotted line at United, with the 50-year-old eager to improve players at the club’s Carrington training complex.

One player hoping Ten Hag, McClaren and Van der Gaag can improve them is Marcus Rashford.

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The England international toiled last term, scoring just four goals in the Premier League and falling down Rangnick’s pecking order.

By the end of the season, youngster Anthony Elanga had jumped above him and taken Rashford’s spot in the team.

Yet the 24-year-old is determined to bounce back and has been training hard in an undisclosed location, posting updates on social media.

Rashford has also spoken to the likes of Donny van de Beek and Daley Blind about what to expect from Ten Hag.

And he’s eager to improve his game, especially after improving during Solskjaer’s first two years in the dugout.

Speaking last month, meanwhile, McClaren opened up on his return to United and his first week reunited with Ten Hag.

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He said: ”The last seven days have epitomised his attention to details, all the planning which he wants to get right.

“And that’s from the day after he won the championship with Ajax, he’s on to the next thing; a little bit like Sir Alex Ferguson used to do.

“But we just want to support Erik and make him successful and, if he is, then the team is.

“Erik finished his last game [at Ajax], came to London where I met him and Mitchell [van der Gaag] and John Murtough and together we spent five or six days including [Monday] with the press.

“So we have spent the last week working.

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“The work ethic and the attention to detail has just been exemplified in the last seven days where he’s practically met every member of staff who he is going to work very closely with and in detail has worked out the plan – what each person’s job is.

“It’s not just exciting going back to Manchester United, it’s exciting working with Erik again.

“And after a week with Mitchell, a very, very good coach, and hopefully together, along with the staff and John Murtough also has been a fantastic help in the process, we can begin middle of June when [the] players come back.

“It’s a new beginning. I know Erik is looking forward to it and I certainly am.

“It was great to catch up with him over the last seven days and bond again and hopefully make a great team off the field that will, ultimately, produce one on the field.”

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