Erik ten Hag is the poster boy for the new era at Manchester United, but he is not the only person tasked with transforming the club this summer.
United also appointed Andy O’Boyle as the club’s inaugural deputy football director, with the Northern Irishman tasked with assisting John Murtough in his role, leaving more time and resources for the latter to focus on recruitment this summer.
Ralf Rangnick himself identified a need for a recruitment overhaul at Old Trafford, though he would not be a part of it, after it was mutually agreed that his new role with the Austrian national side would be too demanding.
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The 63-year-old has already made an impact in his new job, overseeing a convincing 3-0 win against World Cup runners-up Croatia in his first match, before falling to a 2-1 defeat against Denmark on Monday night.
“He has been really good,” Real Madrid’s David Alaba told The Athletic. “You can see we have a really good plan and you can see it works for us on the pitch. He does not want us to let the opponents breathe air. It’s good for us. “
“What he did in the past is something special, and now I’m seeing it close up. He showed what he can do at Leipzig, Salzburg and Hoffenheim. He did not have a lot of time in Manchester. He has a really good plan and knows a lot about football. ”
Rangnick might not have been a success during his time at Old Trafford, but his immediate impact at international level certainly indicates that he was not the only reason the team was so bad during his reign.
A key difference between Rangnick at United and Austria is the backroom staff he has, with former Lokomotiv Moscow assistant, Lars Kornetka, once again by his side at international level.
The pair started working together in 2007 when Kornetka was appointed as the first video analyst in the history of German football. “He’s the best video analyst we have in Germany and my friend and colleague,” the former United interim manager said.
Rangnick has huge respect for his right-hand man and already looks visibly happier to be back alongside someone with a deep knowledge of how he likes to operate.
Things might well have worked out differently at Old Trafford had Rangnick been able to lure Kornetka with him. However, the 44-year-old did not want to leave Lokomotiv at that point in time and was rather unclear about his long-term role at United beyond the interim period as well.
Kornetka still helped out in a minimal role for United, by providing live analysis during matches over the phone. But it was never an ideal situation, with those thoughts having to be passed on by Chris Armas and Ewan Sharp to the manager.
Armas and Sharp have both left United, and neither will be missed. An MLS-based source told the Manchester Evening News they thought it was a ‘practical joke’ when they first heard the pair had gotten their jobs in the first-place, such was their reputation stateside.
The duo were credited with putting on underwhelming training sessions, and sources admit they ultimately did not seem up to the expectations of such an elite club.
Time will tell just how successful Rangnick can be in his international role, though his immediate impact highlights how important it is for a manager to have the right backroom staff to support them in the job.
Ten Hag has already said that after he was allowed to bring Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren with him to Old Trafford, and both will have key roles to play next season.
Once again, it is the manager who will be the poster boy for what they achieve going forward, but he is not the only person tasked with transforming the club this summer.