Is Erik Ten Hag the Greatest Football Manager in the World?  

Mr Carr (teacher)

Picture this.  

It is Sunday 14th of August and Manchester United is 4-0 down in their second Premier League game of the season, away at Brentford. The home fans are in a jubilant mood and chant ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ in the direction of the United dugout. The man they are aiming their chants at is Erik Ten Hag, the new Manchester United manager. He was appointed back in April 2022 and arrived at the club with a strong pedigree and an increasing reputation following a successful 5-year stint as manager of the Dutch powerhouse, Ajax. Ten Hag had admitted that taking the United job was a risk and it was going to be a challenge. After defeat in his opening two games of the Premier League season, the task would be viewed as much more challenging than he ever could have anticipated.   


Fast forward nearly 7 months and United has already claimed the League Cup, are placed 3rd in the Premier League and has reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League and is one game away from a place in the FA Cup Final. The turnaround and fortunes of this great and historic club cannot be put down to one man… 

Or can they?   


Erik Ten Hag arrived in Manchester as the fan favourite and with a winning background. Since the retirement of the game’s greatest-ever manager, Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, United have been a shadow of their former selves. Their cross-town rivals Manchester City have dominated domestically, and to a lesser extent, their bitter rivals Liverpool have also had a successful period.   

United fans crave a return to the successes of times gone by. There is a strong belief in the fan base that ETH is the man to return the club to its former glory.    

The miracles that Ten Hag has worked in his short time at the club have many people claiming that he is the greatest manager in world football right now. Let’s look at some of the supporting evidence for this claim.  


  1. The immediate success of his new signings: any new manager to a football club likes to put their stamp on the squad. They like to sign players who fit their system and can bring about success. ETH is no different and he immediately raided his former club, bringing in stars Lisandro Martinez and Antony. He also added Casemiro, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen to provide more quality in much-needed areas. His capability in identifying what was needed for his team and its ability to swiftly deliver it shows his qualities as a manager.  
  2. Getting the best out of his existing players: Marcus Rashford is the name that springs to mind in relation to Ten Hag’s skills in this area. During the 2021/22 season, Rashford managed a return of 7 goals from 37 games. Not a strong record for a striker in the peak years of his career. This season, under the guidance of Ten Hag, he has scored 30 goals in 49 games across all competitions. The transformation has been there for all to see. Ten Hag’s ability to get the best out of Rashford is another demonstration of why he is the best in the business.  
  3. Results: Results are everything in football. It really does not matter how well you play as long as you get results. Ultimately if a manager cannot get results, then they’ll lose their job. Despite the odd hiccup, Ten Hag is getting results. The team already has one trophy in the bag with the potential for another two before the end of the season. Based purely on the results of the team he inherited, Ten Hag is up there with the other managers who have significantly more resources to work with.   


What Ten Hag achieves between now and the end of the season could potentially catapult United back to the highest echelons in European football. Something that could happen way ahead of schedule for most United fans. What he achieves in the entirety of his Manchester United career could send them into dreamland.  

Time will tell, but for now, is Erik Ten Hag the greatest football manager in the world?  

For me, it’s a yes.   


*This article was written as a part of Teacher Takeover.