Erik Ten Hag must ignore star names and sign humble players with the right attitude to take Manchester United back to the top, according to Quinton Fortune.
Fortune won the Premier League with United in 2003 as part of a team that included legends Roy Keane, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former South Africa international, who spent seven years at Old Trafford believes signing players with the character embodied by those legends is just as important as ability, as ten Hag looks to lift United following their worst season of the Premier League era.
United finished in sixth place, 35 points behind champions Manchester City, their points haul of 58 their lowest total since the Premier League was formed three decades ago, as well as ending up with a goal difference of zero. When asked about the type of player United should target, Fortune said: “I’ve thought about that and it’s a good question.
“It doesn’t have to be big names. It’s got to be the right characters to fit into the culture of Manchester United. That is the thing to achieve again. It’s very important. Not every single player will have to be better to coach, but the humility bit is what has got United so much success.
“Yes, the teams I played in had individual characters. But, when it came down to the team, there was so much humility in what they did and their work in winning the Champions League and championships. Then they just came in ready to work again. So, for me, it’s the right characters.”
With five players having left United following the end of their contracts, including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani, there is set to be a major overhaul of ten Hag’s squad this summer. As well as new arrivals, Fortune believes the appointment of ten Hag and the fresh start under him will provide United’s current players with the chance to show their worth to him.
Which “humble” players should Man Utd sign this summer? Make your suggestions here
Andy Rowland / PRiME Media Images)
“There’s the opportunity to bring in new players with a few players coming to the end of their contracts,” said Fortune. “Of course, we’ll wait to see who he brings in. That is the exciting part. But I think it’s a good time for every player to impress. It’s a fresh start for everyone.
“I saw Hannibal last season and I hope he gets opportunities in pre-season as he looks very exciting. Anthony Elanga took his chance and he looked really, really exciting too. I think once you create a happy environment, with good relationships between the players, I think everyone will flourish.
“Everyone will be happy to come to training with a smile on their face, give off good energy and we’ll see lots of positivity on the pitch. Not just from the players, but the fans as well.”