McClaren and Van der Gaag announced as Man Utd assistants
Written by Training Ground Guru — May 23, 2022
MANCHESTER UNITED have announced that Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren will be Erik ten Hag’s assistants at Old Trafford.
Van der Gaag, 50, has been Ten Hag’s assistant at Ajax this season, having previously been the club's reserve team manager for two years. And McClaren's appointment marks a return to United after 21 years.
The 61-year-old was Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant from 1998 to 2001, during which time they won three Premier League titles and the Treble. Both Van der Gaag and McClaren were in attendance for United's final game of the season, the 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace yesterday.
Ten Hag, 52, officially begins work at United today and will be unveiled to the media at an Old Trafford press conference this afternoon. He arrives having secured his third Eredivisie title with Ajax.
Van der Gaag's appointment is subject to Governing Body Endorsement from the FA and a UK visa. As a player, the Dutchman began his career at PSV Eindhoven and went on to represent NEC, Sparta Rotterdam, Motherwell, Utrecht, Maritimo and Al-Nassr.
His coaching career started in Portugal with Maritimo and then Belenenses, who he led back to the Primeira Liga by winning the Segunda Liga. After a short spell in Cyprus he returned to the Netherlands in 2015 with FC Eindhoven, Excelsior and NAC, before joining Ajax in 2019.
McClaren left United in 2001 to take on his first managerial role with Middlesbrough and secured their first major honour, the 2004 League Cup, as well as leading them to the 2006 Uefa Cup final.
He left Boro to become England manager in May 2006, a role he held until November 2007. Next up was a move to Dutch football as manager of Twente, which is where he forged an association with Ten Hag, who he appointed as his assistant.
Speaking recently, McClaren said: “I thought I worked hard until I met Erik. His great strength lies not just in his attention to detail and organisation - he has a clear philosophy of how he wants to play football, the environment he wants to create.”
In 2009/10, McClaren led Twente to their first Eredivisie title, pipping Ajax by a point. He then became the first Englishman to manage in the Bundesliga, with Wolfsburg.
A return to England with Nottingham Forest preceded another year in Twente, which was followed by periods of charge of Derby County, Newcastle United and Queen’s Park Rangers. This season he has been working with Wayne Rooney at Derby County as an advisor.