When a Young Erik Ten Hag Spoke to Johan Cruyff about Coaching


Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag started his career as a professional coach back in 2012 with the Dutch football team Go Ahead Eagles. But it is safe to say that he started thinking as a professional coach from a very young age. An old video showing an intriguing interaction between Ten Hag and the late Johan Cruyff has resurfaced on social media. The verbal exchange, roughly translated into English, clearly suggests that Ten Hag possessed all the required qualities to become a professional coach at a pretty early age in his life.

Ten Hag was a part of those who got a golden opportunity to discuss football with Cruyff. The chat had taken place back in 1984, just a year before Cruyff started his eventful managerial stint with Ajax.

The discussion was based on young footballers being shouted at by professional coaches. Cruyff asked, “But it happens a lot right, that a trainer yells. Or does that not happen with you guys?”

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In reply, Ten Hag opined that coaches should be cautious as too much yelling can often end up demoralising a young footballer.

“I think you should watch out that you don’t yell to the youth too much, because you can break a player like that. But on a higher level, such as the first team of Ajax, you should be able to say something about it,” Ten Hag responded.

Though, the fascinating exchange of words did not end there. Ten Hag added, that the senior crop of footballers train daily and if they keep on committing the same mistakes regularly then coaches should have the power to “confront” them.

In response, Cruyff asked, “So that means you differentiate between youth and paid football?” Ten Hag confirmed with a, “yes.”

The present Manchester United manager seems to have remembered what he said 38 years back. Ten Hag fulfilled his statement as he was reportedly heard yelling “What the f**k are you doing?!” to a player during the pre-season friendly match against Crystal Palace.

Manchester United won the match 3-1 against Crystal Palace. The 52-year-old Dutchman has so far managed his side in three matches and he has been successful in remaining unbeaten till now.

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