Steve McClaren clashes with Man Utd coach and board suggest axing Ten Hag ally

Steve McClaren has been Erik ten Hag’s assistant head coach at Manchester United (Image: Getty)

Steve McClaren has reportedly shared ‘frank exchanges of views’ with fellow Manchester United coach Mitchell van der Gaag at times during their Manchester United tenure. Both coaches are assistants to head coach Erik ten Hag, who has been retained by the Premier League side despite a largely underwhelming 2023-24 season.

Former England manager McClaren was brought to Old Trafford when Ten Hag was appointed in the summer of 2022. He was reportedly hired to create a ‘blend of personalities’ within the coaching team. He had previously assisted legendary ex-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

But that mixture of character within the coaching team has reportedly caused clashes. According to The Athletic, McClaren and fellow assistant Van der Gaag have had ‘frank exchanges’ during their two years working under Ten Hag.

The 63-year-old is described as having a ‘buoyant’ approach to coaching. He also has vast experience in the English game and worked alongside Ten Hag in the Netherlands.

Van der Gaag’s own future has reportedly come under scrutiny despite a season review concluding with Ten Hag being retained by the United hierarchy. The report adds that INEOS sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford has suggested that Ten Hag’s coaching team could benefit from restructuring.

Conversations between INEOS and Ten Hag are believed to have included whether he could appoint a new assistant to replace Van der Gaag. The United boss is understood to have strongly resisted the suggestion.

INEOS, whose CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a 27.7 per cent purchase of United in January, reportedly operate by a playbook including the three words “grit”, “rigour” and “humour”.

It is claimed that the issue of Van der Gaag’s position could yet resurface.

Man Utd coach Mitchell van der Gaag’s future could reportedly arise in talks over the summer (Image: Getty)

United are set for a busy summer even without vast change in the Old Trafford dugout. The FA Cup triumph has helped Ten Hag keep his job for the start of a third season, although there will be scepticism after last season’s eighth-placed Premier League finish.

INEOS remain hopeful of appointing Dan Ashworth as their sporting director, although the former FA technical director is set to take Newcastle to arbitration as he seeks a move to Old Trafford. That case is set to rumble on for at least several months.

On the pitch, Ten Hag’s squad could be given a makeover. According to The Times, the Red Devils have agreed personal terms with Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

Express Sport understands that there is also interest in Crystal Palace forward Michael Olise, but the 22-year-old has significant admirers elsewhere who will find he has a complicated release clause to work around.