Ten Hag optimistic for Man Utd youngsters but has words of warning

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Erik ten Hag hopes "one or two" of the Manchester United youngsters travelling with the senior side for pre-season can break into his squad for the new season, but he warned it will not be easy.

Ten Hag was appointed as successor to interim manager Ralf Rangnick in May after the German and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before him presided over a dreadful season that culminated in United finishing sixth.

Their points total of 58 was the worst United have ever recorded in the Premier League, while the 2021-22 campaign saw them fail to finish a league campaign with a positive goal difference for the first time in over 30 years.

That haul of 58 points was six fewer than David Moyes – and Ryan Giggs as his caretaker replacement – managed in the 2013-14 season, which was the first following Alex Ferguson's retirement.

With many players seemingly coming to the end of the road with United, all signs pointed towards a massive rebuild occurring over the transfer window; several signings were expected after Rangnick suggested they needed as many as 10, while there was an expectation some younger players would get a chance.

Things have not really gone to plan on the transfer front yet, with left-back Tyrell Malacia the only new face, but United did head out on their pre-season tour with a host of youngsters in the travelling party.

Charlie Savage, Zidane Iqbal, Alejandro Garnacho, Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar, Ethan Laird, James Garner, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo are all with United in Bangkok, waiting to stake their claims, but Ten Hag suggested they are probably not even aware of how hard they will need to work to impress him.

"What I want to see is that they learn but also they show themselves because they have to deserve a position in top football," Ten Hag told MUTV.

"You have to deserve your position. It means you have to deliver every day, that demands a certain style, a certain way of life that they have to adapt to, that they probably don't know yet.

"But I am really looking forward to seeing if they can do it.

"I hope one or two, they can prove themselves and they come into the squad but, if they want to enter the dressing room, they have to deserve it."

United will play their first pre-season match – and first under Ten Hag's stewardship – in Bangkok on Tuesday when they face bitter rivals Liverpool.

They are also due to face Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in pre-season, with the latter being Ten Hag's first game at Old Trafford on July 31.

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