Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag dropped an un-named player during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia because he was twice late for team meetings.
Ten Hag is known as a strict disciplinarian, while poor attitude was among the biggest criticisms thrown at United players under successive former bosses last season.
Fans are keen for the Dutchman to whip a squad that performed well below the sum of its collective parts last season into shape.
An early sign of his impact only a few weeks into the job is already being seen, with The Athletic reporting that Ten Hag considers lateness as a ‘symptom of slipping standards’.
It is said that he believes unchecked lateness will ‘bleed into other aspects of a footballer’s job on the pitch’ and is ‘very clear’ on what he will not accept. However, he is not thought to be as severe as Louis van Gaal, who would take disciplinary action over a matter of seconds.
One player has already fallen foul of Ten Hag’s discipline, though. It is said that the un-named player was in line to feature in a tour game but was dropped because he had arrived late more than once for meetings in the build-up. Not only did it send a message to that individual, but also made clear to the rest of the squad that the new boss isn’t prepared to compromise.
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United goalkeeper David de Gea appears to be on board with the new system.
“I agree, we needed a better culture of football, of just thinking about football, nothing else,” he told The Athletic in an interview earlier in July.
“Of course, you cannot be late. People who work in their jobs, you cannot be late. So I think you cannot be late for training, we cannot be late for the meetings. That’s life, you have to be on time and professional.”