Ten Hag backs Overmars for Ajax return after exit over ‘inappropriate messages’

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Erik ten Hag has backed Marc Overmars to make a “romantic return” to Ajax after the former Netherlands international resigned as the club’s director of football for sending inappropriate messages to female colleagues.

Ten Hag began as Manchester United’s manager on an informal basis on Monday after guiding Ajax to the Eredivisie title. Overmars left the Dutch club in February, stating he was “ashamed” at his behaviour and apologising.

Related: Overmars ‘ashamed’ after quitting Ajax over inappropriate messages

Ten Hag believes Overmars could one day work again at Ajax – in tandem with him. “That’s a romantic thought,” the 51-year-old told De Telegraaf. “We’ve have been very successful together. It’s hard to say it’s happening, but it certainly could.”

Regarding Overmars’ conduct Ten Hag said: “It is a social problem, because you see it everywhere: in politics and in business. If Johan Derksen can go back …”

Derksen, 73, is a former footballer and now pundit who said on live television in April that he had assaulted a woman 50 years before with a candle. The next day Derksen sought to backtrack on his statement, saying the object had only been placed close to her legs.

At the time of Overmars’ resignation Ajax’s supervisory board chair, Leen Meijaard, said: “It is devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behaviour. When we heard news of this, we immediately acted, carefully deliberating and weighing what was the best thing to do, all in consultation with CEO Edwin van der Sar and assisted by an external expert.”

Ten Hag credited Overmars with the championships. “That’s one of the statements I made after winning the title,” he said. “We modelled this team together. I also texted Marc that.”

In March the Belgian side Royal Antwerp appointed Overmars as their technical director. “What has happened at Ajax won’t happen again,” he said. “I am glad to be here. It is a new chapter for me.”

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