Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag endured a difficult season with Manchester United Image Credit: Reuters

Former West Ham, Tottenham and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp believes England manager Gareth Southgate could still replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United if the Dutchman fails to start the next Premier League season strongly.

It was widely reported that Ten Hag was set to lose his job after two years at the 13-time Premier League champions ahead of last month’s FA Cup final against Manchester City, with Southgate a rumoured front runner to replace him.

But following a shock victory at Wembley and post-season review by the club's board, the 54-year-old is set to remain as manager with talks also underway about extending his contract, which is about to enter its final season.

It’s likely the shock 2-1 triumph over Manchester City gave the Manchester United board food for thought, with Ten Hag’s tenure at the club seemingly dead and buried ahead of the game.

Harry Redknapp was speaking to Gulf News ahead of his visit to Dubai next week for the Golden Balls podcast Image Credit: AP

“The Manchester United board probably had a plan in place,” Redknapp told Gulf News ahead of his visit to Dubai next week for the ‘Here’s Harry’ episode of the Hollywood Balls podcast at Emirates Golf Club.

“Get beat by Manchester City in the FA Cup final and then replace Ten Hag with either Mauricio Pochettino or wait for Gareth Southgate after the Euros.

“That was probably their plan, but I guess the win against Manchester City made them change their minds a bit.

“They might have thought that Southgate wouldn’t have wanted the job straight after the Euros, no matter how England get on, so they will probably give it a few months to see how well Ten Hag does.

“If he does well then all good, if he doesn’t then Southgate might be around at that stage and fancy a go at it.”

Recruitment is key

Petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed the purchase of a 27.7% stake in Manchester United through his INEOS conglomerate earlier this season- enabling him to take control of football operations from the Glazer family.

Shortly after the purchase, Ratcliffe, a lifelong fan of the club, revealed that he wanted to knock Manchester City and Liverpool off their perch and take Manchester United back to the glories of the past.

They are way off that mark right now, with Ten Hag leading Manchester United to their worst Premier League finish (8th) last season and their most league defeats (14) in a single season since recording 16 during the 1989-90 campaign under Sir Alex Ferguson.

While it could be argued that injuries played a major role in United’s demise, Redknapp believes Ten Hag must get his recruitment right this summer if he is to see out 2024 and close the gap on their rivals.

England's Luke Shaw celebrates the opener
Luke Shaw hasn't played for Manchester United since February Image Credit: AP

“I think they’ll probably give Ten Hag a go until Christmas to see how he gets on, but it all depends on recruitment as they need to bring in two or three better players.” added Redknapp.

“The team they’ve got at the moment, even when they’re all fit, is not really going to be up there challenging. He could finish fourth, possibly.

“The centre halves missed a lot of the season, Lisandro Martinez hardly played a game, so it’s difficult really.

“When Ten Haag’s looked around at other options, who is there to fill that position? He jumped from one player to another.

“Players like Luke Shaw, who is still probably the left back around, didn’t play a lot towards the end of the season, but he’s back fit now in time for the Euros.

“If he gets everybody fit and recruits well, they could be okay next year.

“He needs to have a decent start, or he’ll be under pressure again.”

Football fans can catch Redknapp and the Hollywood Balls podcast on June 20 at Spike Bar, Emirates Golf Club. Tickets are Dhs200, with Dhs150 redeemable on F&B.