May 13, 2024

A current Manchester United player has reportedly hinted at Erik ten Hag’s potential successor, with former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer suggesting that England manager Gareth Southgate could be in line for the job.


McAteer, who refrained from naming the player, indicated that there is a belief within the squad that Ten Hag might not remain at the helm beyond this season. The Dutch manager’s second season in charge has been challenging, and it looks set to end on a lower note than last year’s third-place finish.


Following a home defeat to Arsenal, United’s chances of securing European football are in jeopardy. A loss against Newcastle in their upcoming match would mean they must triumph over Manchester City in the FA Cup final to qualify for European competition next season.


The recent loss also saw United set an undesirable record, leading to increased scrutiny over Ten Hag’s position. While an official announcement regarding his future is not expected until after the FA Cup final, McAteer has shared insights from a conversation with a United player that suggest a managerial change could be imminent.


McAteer discussed the details on beIN Sports, recounting his interaction: “He plays for Man United and I had a conversation with him on Friday, I bumped into him because I live just outside the area,” he revealed, as reported by The Mail.


“We got into conversation, great lad, and I asked him (about the) end of the season and what he thought and he gave me no inclination that the manager was there to stay. In fact we spoke about different names and who we thought will be a good fit and I got no inclination from him.”


When pressed by host Richard Keys, McAteer appeared to indicate Southgate was the name who had brought a positive reaction from the player. “Footballers have an inclination when the manager’s job is on the line and they obviously know and I just got the feeling that it’s done, it’s done,” he added.


McAteer later attempted to clarify his comments on social media. “Firstly I was told nothing by any Manchester United player … nothing ! ! ! ! and he certainly didn’t revel what he thought in fact all he did was smile at my question,” he claimed.


“My conclusion was based on my assumptions no one else’s. Oh and Manchester United’s results and performances maybe.”


Southgate has responded to the recent links with the United job, insisting that speculation over his future would be no distraction ahead of Euro 2024. “Well, for me, it’s not an issue and never has been,” he told the BBC.


“I have to deliver a successful tournament for England and there’s enough work involved in that. I think everybody would expect that’s where my focus should be. There will always be speculation about managers, because if you lose a couple of games, you’re in trouble – you win a couple of games and it is a different agenda.


“But for me, it [Euro 2024] is a brilliant opportunity. We’re looking forward to the tournament. My focus is on how do we go a step further than we went in the last Euros.”


Ten Hag has also spoken about the speculation over his own future. “Any manager can do better but also I am two years here and I have one time had a full group of players,” he said after the loss against Arsenal.


“You can’t progress a team in certain key areas with so many injuries, It’s like swimming with your hands on your back and you have to keep your head above the water level, that is what we try to do.


“We are still in a cup final. This is good. But if you want to progress a team you need fit players and you see our opponent today, they had only one not 100 per cent match-fit player and we had so many.”


“I don’t like reactions but you have to always be there, you have to always be spot on when you are Man United. But if it happens, you need a reaction and the players gave the reaction.”

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