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Manchester United players have already made feelings on Zinedine Zidane clear as pressure increases on Erik ten Hag

Chris Byfield

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Manchester United players have already made feelings on Zinedine Zidane clear as pressure increases on Erik ten Hag

Zinedine Zidane has been linked with the Manchester United job amid uncertainty surrounding Erik ten Hag’s long-term future at the club.

Ten Hag has been under intense scrutiny following a dismal start to the season. Indeed, The Times claimed last week the 53-year-old was on ‘thin ice’ at United.

Having made their worst start to a season in 61 years, a number of names have been earmarked as potential replacements, including highly-rated Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim and former Real Madrid manager Zidane.

And several members of the United squad have been vocal of Zidane’s influence in the past.

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Indeed, Casemiro, whom Zidane managed across his two spells as Real boss, told the Guardian in 2020: “Even today I get a little nervous talking to him. I tell him he doesn’t know what he meant for us, for me.

“Yeah, I tell him that: you took ‘98 away but it didn’t change anything. Also, knowing him now, I can say he deserves it. He’s incredible: the humility, how he expresses football. He treats us with so much affection and love.

“He’s very insistent; he always, always says: ‘Case, you can do more: arrive from the second line, feed midfielders, bring the ball out cleanly.’ This year, maybe I’ve had more protagonism with the ball, but I still know my job: rob the ball, give it to my teammates.

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“But Zizou is pesado, heavy going: always talking to me, wanting more. He says: ‘I’m not asking you to do something you can’t do; I’m asking you to do something you can.’ He trusts me a lot.”

Raphael Varane too, has been very complimentary of his former Real boss. Speaking in 2020 Varane said, via Manchester Evening News: "My first reaction is that I feel proud for the last ten years. He took me from Lens to Real Madrid and I have learned a lot alongside him.

"He is a coach that has a human side. He is a source of inspiration, not only for me but for many players who have met him. Seeing him leave is strange for me and for an entire generation of players at Real Madrid.

"It has been a pleasure to work with him, and it would be nice for it to happen again in the future. He is a great coach and a great human being."

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Players with no Real or France connection have also heaped praise on Zidane.

When asked by the Premier League, “Which player, past or present, would you pick to play alongside and why?” right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka named Zidane.

Another who may be reinvigorated under the ‘98 World Cup winner is Sofyan Amrabat. As per the United website, the Moroccan grew up wanting to be like Zidane and Andres Iniesta before he started studying players like Yaya Toure and Thiago Motta.

Meanwhile, during Euro 2020, Luke Shaw labelled Zidane as “one of the best midfielders ever”.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan Bissaka, Sofyan Amrabat, Luke Shaw

Chris Byfield
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