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Inside Erik ten Hag's first day of Man Utd training – "Everyone was raring to go"


Man Utd players returned to Carrington for their first face-to-face meetings with new manager Erik ten Hag with sources at the training ground stating “everyone was raring to go”

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Manchester United’s players were all smiles yesterday as they returned for pre-season training and the start of the Erik ten Hag era.

Whether they will still be smiling in a few weeks remains to be seen, as ten Hag has vowed to put United’s players through a gruelling pre-season regime to ensure they are in peak condition. Players including David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and young sensation Alejandro Garnacho all reported for duty and a first face-to-face meeting with their new boss.

Ten Hag arrived at United’s Carrington training base at 8am, two hours before his players were due to report back for pre-season following their four-week summer break. The 52-year-old Dutchman was driven into the training ground by security staff, the fifth permanent manager to take charge of United since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down back in 2013.

HAVE YOUR SAY! Where will Manchester United finish this season under Erik ten Hag? Join the discussion in the comments section.

Ten Hag addressed the combined group of 15 first-team players and Under-21 squad members at the start of an afternoon training session introducing himself and outlining his approach.

He was joined by assistants Mitchell van der Gaag, with whom he worked at Ajax, and former England boss Steve McClaren, who worked alongside Ferguson at United from 1999 to 2001.

United’s players – some of whom had arrived before 9am – spent more than two hours out on the training pitches, with the lengthy ball session not finishing until after 4pm.







Erik ten Hag made an early arrival for his first day of training as Man Utd manager
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Eamonn and James Clarke)

A training ground source said: “There was a real energy about the place. Everyone was raring to go.

“Erik was buzzing around the training ground, meeting a lot of people, before taking training in the afternoon.

“There’s always a certain amount of routine on the first day back, with fitness and health checks, but they were out on the grass doing ball work in the afternoon.”

Although yesterday was his first day with the players at the training ground, Ten Hag has been doing plenty of groundwork behind the scenes, since his appointment was confirmed on April 22.







David de Gea returned to training with another new manager at the helm
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Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)







Donny van de Beek was reunited with his former Ajax manager
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Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

After guiding Ajax to a third successive Dutch league title, Ten Hag’s focus immediately shifted to United, working in tandem with football director John Murtough on incomings and outgoings.

Ten Hag also held individual meetings with United’s players over Zoom last month, in a bid to forge some early familiarity, while he also ordered a full dossier on each squad member to build up a full picture of each of them before being introduced.

After watching tapes of many of United’s games from last season, in which they finished sixth with their lowest ever Premier League points total, Ten Hag was convinced many of the poor displays were caused by poor fitness and a lack of proper conditioning.







Anthony Martial was also back at Carrington after his loan spell at Sevilla
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Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

That is why Ten Hag, who plays a high-intensity pressing style like so many modern coaches, which requires players to be at peak fitness to sustain the running and energy levels required to carry it out, ordered an early return to pre-season training.

United’s international players, which includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and skipper Harry Maguire, return for pre-season next week, with the squad embarking on a two-and-a-half week summer tour of Thailand and Australia a week on Friday.

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