With Manchester United appointing Erik Ten Hag as their new manager, fans are hoping to see him develop young prospects into key players. Replicating his excellent work at Ajax, while meeting United’s traditional club model of youth development.
In his 5 years as Ajax manager, Erik Ten Hag’s youth player development was arguably among the best in Europe. Drawing attention to players such as current Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Donny Van de Beek and Jurrien Timber, to name a few.
Youngster Ten Hag fully rewarded his confidence as Ajax reached the Champions League semi-final for the first time since 1997. Europe’s eyes were on Ten Hag’s trailblazing side as many clubs came to secure lucrative deals for players. , making huge profits for Ajax.
As the Dutch manager makes his debut at Old Trafford, here are three youngsters who could potentially excel under Ten Hag’s reign.
Position – Attacking Midfielder / Winger
Age – 19
The Ivorian arrived in Manchester with serious hype after signing a deal worth £37.2million from Atalanta. Since then, he hasn’t been able to see much playing time, especially under ex-boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, a recent short-term loan spell at Rangers showed a glimpse of the winger’s quality. Playing only 500 minutes there, Diallo still managed to score 3 goals despite limited playing time. United fans will be hoping to see Diallo equal a similar outing to former Ten Hag Ajax wonderkids Antony and David Neres.
Position – Central Midfield / Defensive
Age – 21
A breakout star this year at Nottingham Forrest, James Garner has been instrumental in promoting Steve Cooper’s Forrest team.
Receiving plenty of applause for his composure on the ball in the middle of the park, especially in a league as physically demanding as the Championship, Garner proved he was more than ready for “men’s football”.
Equally impressive, Garner had four goals and eight assists in the Championship last season, proving he has the attacking elements needed in a Manchester United midfield.
With rumors circulating around potential loan moves to other Premier League sides, don’t be surprised to see the Birkenhead lad added to United’s slim midfield options next season.
Position – Winger
Age – 17
Arriving in Manchester from Atletico Madrid, Alejandro Garnacho has all the makings of a child prodigy.
The Spaniard has made 32 appearances at youth level this year, scoring 15 goals while assisting six. Playing a crucial role in guiding Manchester United to FA Youth Cup triumph. A competition in which he has scored more goals than matches played.
Despite being considerably younger than the other attacking options in the team, Garnacho made his Premier League debut in the 2021/22 campaign.
If the youngster continues at his current pace, expect to see a lot more of him next year.