Mauricio Pochettino was my pick for ‘in turmoil’ Man Utd – Teddy Sheringham
Teddy Sheringham would have preferred Mauricio Pochettino being appointed as Manchester United’s new boss to Erik Ten Hag, who he hopes is given time with the club currently looking to be “in freefall”.
While Paris St Germain and former Tottenham manager Pochettino was linked with the role at United, it was Ajax chief Ten Hag last week named as the man set to take charge at Old Trafford this summer.
That announcement came between a 4-0 loss at Liverpool and 3-1 defeat at Arsenal that left the Red Devils six points outside the Premier League’s top four in sixth and interim boss Ralf Rangnick admitting he saw a Champions League berth as no longer realistic.
Sheringham, whose playing career included helping United win the treble in 1999 and two spells with Tottenham, told the PA news agency: “I would have (preferred Pochettino), only for his experience in the Premier League.
“I love the way he plays football. It’s in the Man United style, or the style we used to play years ago.
“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know an awful lot about Ten Hag. He’s obviously a decent manager. But the club is in a bit of turmoil at the moment and it’s going to take an awful lot to turn it around.
“He has a massive job on his hands and it’s going to take him a little while to become accustomed to the Premier League. Let’s hope he is given time – but we all know what football is like. We’ll see if he gets the time that’s needed.
“The way United are at the moment, it looks like they’re in freefall to me because of the way the club’s being run, from top to bottom, and everybody’s rowing in different directions.
“He has to be the man to pull it all together and make sure they’re all rowing in the right direction. It’s a real tough job. He couldn’t have come in at any worse time, for me.”
With United – back in action when they host Chelsea on Thursday – being linked with the likes of Spurs’ Harry Kane and Declan Rice of West Ham, another of Sheringham’s old clubs, the former England forward has stressed it is not simply a case of needing to bring in new players.
Sheringham said: “A lot of people have asked me ‘who would you sign?’ I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about getting the right manager to steer the club in the right direction, and I think it’s a very unenviable task at the moment.
“They’ve already got fantastic players. You look at the stars there at the moment – they’re all underperforming. So you’ve got to get the best out of your players before you even think about bringing in (new ones).
“It (new signings) does help, without a doubt, they can have a different mindset – for instance if they brought in Declan Rice and Harry Kane, two established England players. But (also) they could be dragged down by what’s been going on at United for the last few years.
“It’s going to take big characters – not just the manager, but new players and the character of the players already there to change things around.
“It’s just a strange vibe all around Old Trafford at the moment. It’s not a healthy feeling when you talk about United and what’s going on there.”
Sheringham, who played for West Ham from 2004 to 2007, is preparing for a return appearance at Soccer Aid for UNICEF, which this summer takes place at the London Stadium, the Hammers’ home since 2016.
The 56-year-old, previously part of the 2008, 2010 and 2012 events, added: “I’m looking forward to it, I haven’t played there. I’m not sure how the legs will cope!
“I was a West Ham supporter as a kid and it was lovely to kind of end my career where the dream started.
“The times I’ve played in Soccer Aid before, it was a lovely time, everyone mixing and sharing stories, that was the fun part of it.
“But also you know you’re there to earn money for UNICEF. To play your part and getting people to put their hands in their pockets is what it’s all about.”
:: Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 takes place on Sunday, June 12 at the London Stadium. A family of four can attend the game for just £60 – buy your tickets at socceraid.org.uk/tickets