I’ve worked with Arne Slot and Erik ten Hag – one was much better than the other

Dutch midfielder Mark Diemers has played under both Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and his soon-to-be-Liverpool counterpart Arne Slot.

His assessment of the pair will be eye-opening for Liverpool fans, who are faced with having to put their faith in a head coach who has no experience outside of the Netherlands.

Liverpool and Feyenoord have agreed on a £9.4million compensation fee which paves the way for Slot to take over from Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season. The appointment is a bold move from the Anfield hierarchy given the 45-year-old has never managed in a top European league.

But Diemers’ first-hand verdict on working with Slot bodes well for the Reds. The pair’s respective stints at Feyenoord overlapped by two years, while Diemers also spent a year playing for Ten Hag at Utrecht.

And when asked by ESPN Netherlands about the best manager he had ever worked with, Diemers said:

“I choose Arne Slot. I can only talk from my time. I found Ten Hag insanely good tactically, so were his training sessions.

“I just didn’t think he was very good, at that time, on a human level. But that was already six or seven years ago. I thought Slot was a lot stronger on a human level.

“Look at what kind of clubs [Ten Hag] has worked at, so he must also have qualities on a human level. I still have contact with him via WhatsApp. Then he also comes across as very friendly to me. He will undoubtedly have grown on a human level as well.”

While Slot is preparing to make his first foray into the English game, Ten Hag is coming to the end of his second season at Man Utd. And a disappointing campaign has left him on thin ice, particularly in light of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s recent accession to the Old Trafford boardroom.

It remains to be seen whether Ten Hag is given a third season to recreate the kind of long-term success he oversaw in five years at Ajax. Sir Jim is rumoured to be keen on appointing England manager Gareth Southgate if he sees it fitting to make a change.

Ten Hag masterminded a Carabao Cup win and a third-place Premier League finish in his debut season at United. Slot will hope to replicate that impact at Anfield and, unlike his fellow Dutchman, kick on thereafter.

Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title last season and an impressive KNVB Cup win last weekend. But his lack of experience makes him something of a gamble, having only entered full-time management with AZ Alkmaar in 2019.



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