Erik Ten Hag gives Zidane Iqbal and other United young players a new challenge | Sportyz

New challenge for the United youngsters


One of Ten Hag's greatest 'strength' that contributed to his success when he was in Amsterdam was playing to the strength of the club he took over. Ajax academy is actually one of the greatest football academy that produced numbers of talent into the football world.


Ten Hag made use of it to build the major strength of two standard squads in the club. Erik Ten Hag is know for building up young squad but that was not directly the case at Ajax. Most of the players he signed were in their 20s or even in their early 30s. 

The exact thing those players added to the team was experience, together with the young talents produced by the Ajax academy an outstanding team was produced.

Manchester United target, Frenkie de Jong, was one of the players signed at a young age by Ten Hag and afterwards he flourished. But their are a lot of others who came through the system and later earn Ten Hag's trust, many like Jurrien Timber, Donny Van de beek, Ryan Gravenberch, and Matthijs de Light. All this players delivered at Ajax.


Looking at the current process at Manchester United there are some similarities between the talent factories at Manchester United and Ajax. 

Manchester United are with a proud record of adding (including) atleast one Academy player (graduate) to every first team squad since year 1937. This record can't be in danger of ending soon with the 'crop' of youngsters who recently won the FA Youth Cup about 2 months ago.

Check out: Fans praise Eric Bailly after providing beautiful performance against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory

There are plenty of this young academy stars that are getting and enjoying the taste of senior football this pre-season tour.

Zidane Iqbal was an exceptional and fantastic performer in the midfield when he played in the second-half against Liverpool (in Bangkok). It is now a challenge for every of this youngsters to fight for the first team spot seeing Anthony Elanga established himself as a first team player already. 

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There is a fine chance that Iqbal will play against Melbourne Victory with the performance he gave against Liverpool. Youngsters like Ethan Laird and James Garner will be expecting to get some chances in this Tour so they can also express their potentials.


Ten Hag praised Iqbal for his performance when he was speaking with the press, he took the opportunity to praise the whole Academy players. There are probabilities that Alejandro Garnacho and Hannibal Mejbri will also get a chance to feature in the first team this Tour.

"I said before already, I think Manchester United has a huge potential and really good players," he said.

“We have experienced players, but also a lot of young guys, young boys, who have a lot of potential. Now it’s to get the potential out and therefore we have to work really hard.

“Man United is famous for it. Marcus Rashford is one is, eh? It’s a symbol of the academy of Manchester United and there will be more talents coming after." -MEN

Marcus Rashford was sitting next to Erik ten Hag when he was speaking with the press and he remains a good ambassador of the United academy even though he has had some low performance in recent seasons.

The pre-season Tour is a very big chance for youngsters like Garnacho and Iqbal to impress the Coach (Ten Hag) and also to learn his styles of play. Ten Hag has already proven in Ajax that he's delighted in picking young players that he thinks are good enough.


But despite Ten Hag's delight in picking young players some players will still go out on loan once more or even for the first time next season. 

Iqbal has drawn attention recently after his performance against Liverpool in the Rajamangala stadium. The young talent 19-year-old seems to look like a novice but he seems like an excellent football player.

When in a midfield role (deeper in the midfield) he is kind of neat and never seams ready to lose the ball when in possession of it. He always find it easy moving the ball forward. Ten Hag's statement about getting the potential out of the players should really encourage them as the coach has the desire to improve and train players. 

We should be looking forward to seeing more performance from the young talents in this summer and even in Erik ten Hag's tenure.

Opeyemi Odenusi

Hi, I'm Opeyemi, a fitness pro and a sport reseacher. I'm here to enlighten and share with you tips and hacks on how to improve your fitness and wellness and also to provide for you relevant informations on sport with a touch of fitness activities that can improve your well-being.

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