Man United legend responds to claims he will be Erik ten Hag’s assistant at the club

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has laughed off claims he could take up a coaching role at the club as prospective new manager Erik ten Hag’s assistant.

The Dutchman is now the clear frontrunner to take over at Old Trafford after having a formal interview with United bosses on Monday and an announcement could even be made before the end of next month.

Ten Hag was expected to bring some of his Ajax coaches with him to Manchester, but reports emerged this week suggesting United’s decision-makers had other ideas.

It was rumoured that United were keen to have one of their ex-players on Ten Hag’s coaching staff, with Ferdinand and Robin van Persie – who has been coaching at Feyenoord – two of the names mentioned.

But Ferdinand has rubbished the reports, particularly suggestions he put himself forward for the role, and is not likely to be swapping the punditry studio for the dugout anytime soon.

Quoting the rumour, Ferdinand replied on Twitter: ‘Who’s feeding you this sh*t?! Put myself forward yanoooooo.’

The link with Ten Hag’s fellow Dutchman Van Persie might make a little more sense, given that the 38-year-old has actually been coaching at Feyenoord and working with both the senior team and the Under-16 side.

Ten Hag is widely expected to bring current assistant Mitchell van der Gaag, as well as other members of his coaching team, to Old Trafford should he land the job.

Van der Gaag was initially appointed as Ajax’s reserve coach in 2019 but Ten Hag promoted him to assistant manager of the senior team last summer, with the 50-year-old believed to play a key part in their defensive organisation.

Although Ajax will not stand in Ten Hag’s way if United choose him as their next manager, the Red Devils will still need to pay a compensation fee of £4million.

The Dutchman is contracted until 2023, as are most of his coaching staff, so further compensation will be required to prise Van der Gaag and others away from Amsterdam.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick made several coaching appointments when he first took over, with Chris Armas, Sascha Lense and Ewan Sharp all joining the backroom team, but their contracts expire at the end of the season giving Ten Hag – or whoever the next manager is – license to build their own staff as they see fit.