Premier League English

Roy Keane certain Erik ten Hag will never make good on John Murtough vow

Former Manchester United legend and skipper Roy Keane believes that the club do not have the players capable of replicating the attractive, attacking football Erik ten Hag was known for at Ajax.

Keane has emphasized that – regardless of the style of play Erik ten Hag tries to implement at the Old Trafford club – the players donot have what it takes to deliver in the wake of their recent Champions League exit to Bayern Munich.

The Red Devils have failed to proceed to the knockout stage and have now been bundled out of Europe altogether after finishing bottom of Group A, after their miserable campaign ended with a whimpler on Tuesday night after their 1-0 home loss to Bayern Munich.

With this embarrassing early exit from Europe the pressure has certainly piled up even greater on Ten Hag, whose team has lost half of their 24 games in all competitions so far this term. With questions being hurled at the Dutchman on all fronts, club icon Gary Neville is the latest to scrutinize the United style of play associated with Ten Hag. However, his former colleague Keane is adamant that the problem is rather with the standard of the players at his disposal rather than the manager.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, Keane told Neville: “Man United’s been too big for some of the players, obviously. Whatever about styles of play, maybe the move for some of the lads from Holland, sometimes it’s a fact lads have gone to Man United and it’s just too much for them. Simple as that.”

Keane’s verdict defies the barrage of comments made by the Manchester United hierarchy following Ten Hag’s appointment last April. The Dutchman was lauded as the mastermind behind one of Europe’s most fluent, attack-minded teams in Ajax but has notably failed to replicate that same attractive style at Old Trafford.

United have long been associated with exciting, attacking football although this was clearly lacking during the tenures of Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who rather preferred a counter-attacking approach. Football director John Murtough had indicated that Ten Hag’s appointment would mark a notable return to the Manchester United style of play, one that saw the club become synonymous with success during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.

Murtough said in a club statement: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.”

2024 is already looming large on the horizon, yet the attractive, attacking football that Ten Hag had once been popularly associated with has become indeed striking in its absence.

Keane’s cryptic comments indicate changes are probably not to be expected anytime soon, either.