Erik ten Hag’s plans for Manchester United next season may have become clearer after Frenkie de Jong revealed his preferred role.
United are interested in bringing De Jong to Old Trafford this summer, with Ten Hag identifying him as an ideal target. The two know each other well from their time together at Ajax so the new United boss should know how to get the best out of the 25-year-old.
To clear any doubt for Ten Hag, de Jong has outlined his favorite position on international duty. The midfielder has made it clear that he prefers his role at the Netherlands to the position he is expected to fill at Barcelona.
ALSO READ: Where Manchester United stand on Frenkie de Jong and Darwin Nunez when the transfer window opens
“I like to be the first player to get the ball from the defenders. I play differently in the national team than at Barca. And I think this one suits me better,” De Jong said.
Not only will De Jong’s comments give United hope to lure him away from the Nou camp, they could also give a good indication of how United will perform under Ten Hag next season. MEN Sports have looked at how United could line up after De Jong’s admission.
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
There is little doubt here. Ten Hag is a Dean Henderson fan but with United looking to secure a move for the keeper on loan, David de Gea should retain his top spot.
Defense – Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Jurrien Timber, Luke Shaw
United have made Jurrien Timber their defensive priority this summer and unlike De Jong, he hasn’t been quite as vocal about wanting to stay at his current club. The Ajax defender can play either at centre-back or at right-back so it’s a bit unclear where he could play in United’s side should he make the move.
At the moment we’ve placed him at the heart of defense alongside Raphael Varane, although he might as well replace Diogo Dalot if Harry Maguire comes on the side. Luke Shaw is undoubtedly a stronger option than Alex Telles at left-back so he gets the nod.
Midfield – Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes
With De Jong’s admission, United could finally have the answer to their deep-seated midfield problem. It’s still doubtful he’ll make the move but one could imagine Barcelona would accept if the offer is right. One would expect United to continue their search for a midfield specialist, but against sides where United can expect to see plenty of the ball, deploying De Jong as bottom of the three could work.
That could free Donny van de Beek to play in a more advanced role that will hopefully suit him better and give him the kick-start he so desperately needs at United. Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes retains his usual spot as number 10.
Attack – Antony, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho
United are looking for new attacking options and while some reinforcements are needed for Cristiano Ronaldo, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need an outright striker. In Antony they would get a player that Ten Hag knows very well and someone who can offer a solution to a troubled position on the right.
Ronaldo’s place in the XI looks set after a successful return to the club. At left, Jadon Sancho seemed to gain a foothold last season and fans are hoping he returns in 2022/23.
Sign up for our United newsletter so you don’t miss an update from Old Trafford this season.