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Erik ten Hag drops Donny van de Beek hint in first Manchester United press conference

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has praised Everton loanee Donny van de Beek and said he is ‘looking forward’ to working with his former Ajax player again.

Ten Hag was appointed as United's new manager in April from the start of the 2022/23 season and previously managed Van de Beek at Ajax from 2017 to 2020. The midfielder excelled under him and was part of Ajax’s memorable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19 where they knocked out both Real Madrid and Juventus before a dramatic defeat to Tottenham. He was on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or later that year.

His form convinced United to spend £35m on the Dutchman in 2020 but after failing to secure regular football, he moved on loan to Everton on deadline day in January. He made just seven appearances for the Toffees and was hampered by injuries during his time at Goodison Park.

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“Yes of course,” Ten Hag told his first press conference as the new manager of Manchester United on Monday. “We had a fantastic squad in that time at Ajax. I really had a good relationship with him and of course I am looking forward to meeting him again on the pitch.”

Van de Beek has appeared just 27 times in the Premier League for Manchester United, scoring twice and after an underwhelming spell at Everton, the Dutchman will hope his former boss can reignite his faltering career.