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Erik ten Hag is being empowered to prioritise football over money – Man United News And Transfer News

Erik ten Hag is fundamental to every process which takes place at Manchester United, whether that is whom the club attempts to sign, what shirt number they will wear, or even how pre-season is organised. With football underlining these decisions, not commercialism.

Collete Roche, United’s chief operating officer, has revealed Ten Hag was “part of every decision” made on the club’s pre-season tour of America.

The USA is frequently chosen as a pre-season destination for big clubs due to the immense commercial opportunities the country offers. United were reported to be earning £15 million from promoters alone for their travels this summer.

Old Trafford has often been lambasted as an institution governed by commercialism, rather than football, at points during the post-Ferguson malaise.

Louis van Gaal even warned his managerial compatriot to avoid joining the ranks, asserting “Manchester United is a commercial club…He would be better off going to a football club.”

Which is why United fans should be comforted by the central role their manager has at his newly-adopted side, even in relation to commercial decisions.

Roche described how Ten Hag “had lots of input” on the structure of the tour, including the timings involved in travel and the location of training.

The Dutchman even went as far as vetoing the suggested number of commercial days the United players would be subject to, changing this from three days to two.

This decision was based on the long-term football prospects of the United team, rather than the short-term commercial benefits of the club. And it was one United officials were more than happy to allow Ten Hag to make.

Roche reveals:

“The whole plan for the tour was based on making sure the players had some R&R (rest and relaxation) so we don’t have any injuries and they can play to their optimum.” 

This went one step further in the final pre-season game.

United had played against RC Lens at Old Trafford on a Saturday, before the squad flew to Dublin to play Athletic Bilbao on Sunday; only twenty-four hours separating the games.

Ten Hag had opted to play his first-choice XI against RC Lens meaning, naturally, a team comprised of squad players took the field in Dublin. Many supporters, who had a significant price for their admission to the Aviva Stadium, felt short-changed by this decision.

Roche explains: “We don’t get any say over the squad selection, that’s totally up to Erik.”

Though the commercial wing of the club would have undoubtedly preferred United’s star players to be spread more evenly across the two games, Ten Hag was understandably keen to field his first-choice XI together to increase their game time together.

It is, again, a promising omen for United fans that their club is prioritising football over commercialism. Even if the fans in the Aviva Stadium may not have agreed at the time.

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