Manchester

Nigel de Jong names Erik ten Hag signings who have transformed Manchester United

That is the assessment from ex-Manchester City hero Nigel de Jong, who picked out Lisandro Martinez and Antony, who both followed the Dutchman to United from Ajax this summer, as two key additions during an ongoing rebuild Ten Hag started with six incomings featuring those two and Casemiro from Real Madrid.

Sharing his thoughts on summer business at Old Trafford and beyond, De Jong said: “Erik has 23 egos in his squad at United. You can have the best players in the world, but you can only start building a proper team when you can turn all those egos into a team.”

De Jong added: “Ten Hag has chosen his players carefully. I can see one thing… he has picked players with whom he can win a war. I can see the strategy already. Look at Martinez in the team. He has that killer mentality. Martinez will run through fire for Ten Hag.

“Antony is adding his swagger. He too has a mentality we call; 'Over my dead body'. I have seen that side of Antony plenty of times. United have done really good business in my opinion. The spirit in the team has changed.

“Last year, if they conceded a goal, the team collapsed like a house of playing cards. Now, we can all see the energy and strong mentality in the United team. There is a real team on the pitch again.”