Erik ten Hag has arrived at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground for the first day of pre-season, with the Dutch coach keen to get a head start on preparations for the new campaign.
The former Ajax boss was driven to the club’s training complex at 8am on Monday morning, around two hours before United’s non-international players are due to report for duty.
Ten Hag has yet to meet his squad and Monday’s session will be an opportunity for the new manager to put down a marker and introduce his coaching and training philosophy.
He is believed to favour more ball work than many of his predecessors and has ordered the club’s ground staff to cut the grass short so the players can get used to playing slick, passing football.
Although only around 12-15 first-team players are expected to report for duty on Monday, many of those will be seasoned, senior players with United’s poor form seeing a number of players dropped by their international teams.
The likes of David de Gea, Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford are all expected to take part in Ten Hag’s first session, which will set the tone for his tenure in charge.
Assistants Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag were also spotted arriving at Carrington at roughly the same time as Ten Hag, with the former returning to the training ground for the first time as a United coach since 2001.
The rest of United’s squad who were involved in the summer internationals will report for duty in a weeks’ time, next Monday, though their returns are expected to be staggered.
Harry Maguire, for example, is believed to have been granted extra time off to go on his honeymoon after getting married over the weekend.
In addition to encouraging a more possession-based, attacking style of play, Ten Hag is also looking to make changes away from the pitch and one of his new rules will see the entire squad eat lunch together as he looks to forge a greater team spirit in the camp.
In the latter months of Ralf Rangnick’s time in charge, the training ground was very fractured with a number of cliques developing among the players and bringing the squad together is one of Ten Hag’s top priorities.
Unfortunately for the Dutch coach, he has no new signings within his ranks yet, though there is growing optimism that a deal for Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong could be struck this week.
Ten Hag has less than two weeks with his players before they fly to Bangkok on July 8 for the first leg of their pre-season tour.
Other players expected to report for duty at Carrington on Monday include Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe, so Ten Hag will be able to get a good look at some of United’s more fringe players.