With Manchester United set to face Barcelona in the knockout stages of the Europa League, coach Erik ten Hag used the opportunity to praise his former midfielder Frenkie de Jong after failing to secure him in the previous summer transfer window.
The Premier League side came under new leadership when Ten Hag joined them in 2022 after enjoying five successful seasons with Ajax, and his arrival came with the anticipation that many new faces will join him at Old Trafford.
The Dutch coach was keen on securing De Jong from Barcelona last summer but ultimately failed to finalize a deal and with the two sides facing each other in the Europa League, it was only a matter of time before the United boss made few comments.
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag praises Frenkie de Jong
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez was adamant on Wednesday that the Dutch international remains a vital part of the squad and will not be leaving the team but Ten Hag didn’t shy away from praising the 25-year-old.
"“Frenkie brought a lot of that fascination and he has developed over the following years in Spain, He’s a fantastic player and has become even better. Playing out from the back, he always has time. It was a pleasure working with him. He would strengthen any squad in the world. He’s got unique quality.” Ten Hag stated on Thursday (via SkySports)"
Man Utd and Barcelona remain the favorites to win the tournament and while a win over the Catalan giants will mean one step closer to lifting the European glory, perhaps it would also send a positive message to De Jong regarding his potential future at Old Trafford.
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