Ralf Rangnick has given the Manchester United board his verdict on his squad and which of their underachieving players he thinks should stay or go in the summer overhaul at Old Trafford. The interim manager has also offered to brief his successor – likely to be Erik ten Hag – on his conclusions from his six-month reign in temporary charge.
Rangnick will remain involved at United with a consultancy role for the next two seasons but, while he has not played a leading role in the recruitment process for his successor and was reluctant to discuss the move for Ten Hag, he is willing to offer the current Ajax manager, or whoever ends up being United’s next permanent manager, his thoughts on the present group.
“I have already done this, not to any managers, but inside the club,” said Rangnick. “I have told them how I see the current squad and what needs to happen in my opinion. I spoke regularly with board members and they know what I think needs to happen in the summer. If he [the next manager] is interested and willing to speak about that and interested in my opinion I will see what happens.”
His own future has become clearer. “We have agreed upon a contract as an advisor,” Rangnick said. “I know with which coaches they have spoken to and that is why I can say they are all top coaches. This is true of Erik ten Hag, if they have spoken to him.”
Rangnick believes Donny van de Beek, who excelled for Ten Hag at Ajax, could revive a United career that has brought just four league starts. “Why not?” he said. “But it also depends on the new manager and the way he wants to play and for Donny that is what he told me in conversations we had together.” The midfielder, who is on loan at Everton, is ineligible to face his parent club on Saturday when United will kick off languishing in seventh place. “We cannot afford to drop points,” Rangnick said. “I think everyone is aware of that.”
While Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed last weekend’s draw with Leicester City because of illness, is back, Rangnick’s task is made harder by the absence of four injured players. Edinson Cavani remains out and is joined on the sidelines by Scott McTominay, Raphaël Varane and Luke Shaw, depriving Rangnick of his first-choice defensive midfielder, central defender and left-back respectively.
Shaw will undergo surgery on Saturday to remove metal screws inserted in his right leg after it was broken in 2015. The left-back will be out for two weeks and miss the trip to Liverpool on 19 April owing to an injury that came as an unwelcome surprise to Rangnick.
“To me it came quite unexpectedly and the same is true of our medical department,” he said. “Five minutes before half-time he had an issue and at half-time the doctor came to see me and said he could not continue and, since then, we have been discussing what is best and they decided to have the two bolts removed. ”