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Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Man Utd blueprint – management goal, hands-on role, staff changes

Ruud van Nistelrooy is set to be confirmed as Manchester United's new assistant manager, and a former colleague has shed some light on what he'll bring to the role

Ruud van Nistelrooy is on the verge of re-joining Manchester United (

Image: Getty Images)

Rene Meulensteen is backing Ruud van Nistelrooy to succeed at Manchester United.

The former Red Devils striker, who netted an impressive 150 goals in 219 games for the club between 2001 and 2006, is on the verge of becoming Erik ten Hag's new assistant manager. And the former PSV head coach, 48, has been given the seal of approval from the man who worked in the same role under Sir Alex Ferguson back in the day.

Meulensteen, who spent 12 years at Old Trafford as a coach, including six as Ferguson's assistant, has hailed Van Nistelrooy's "hands on" approach and "meticulous" methods, having come close to joining him at PSV. The 60-year-old said news of Van Nistelrooy's impending appointment caught him by surprise, but sees it as a positive step for both him and United.

"For Ruud, it's an opportunity to go back to United and work with a really big club," Meulensteen said in an exclusive chat with the Manchester Evening News via Free Bets. " I know Ruud really well, had some really good conversations with him and discussed opportunities for myself to work with him at PSV before this was announced."

He added: "He had a strong sense of doing well as a number one, was linked with the Burnley job as well. In football you have to be clear in what suits you in terms of what you want. I felt Ruud had a very strong sense of being a number one and staying number one, but it all depends on the conversations he had with Erik."

The hope is that prolific striker Van Nistelrooy will address the attacking problems that often plagued Ten Hag's team as they stumbled to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League last season. Although he didn't get the chance to work with him as expected in the Netherlands, Meulensteen believes Van Nistelrooy's approach on the training ground will mirror his playing days.

Discussing the role he envisions for him, he added: "He's somebody who knows the club, knows what's expected for a club the size of Manchester United, so I do think it's a good appointment. Erik must have had some good conversations with him in what he wants. It's hard for me to tell you what sort of coach he is, as I've never worked with him in that capacity.

Rene Meulensteen expects Van Nistelrooy to be just as thorough as he was when playing.

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Manchester United via Getty Images)

"But I know him from when I was working with him as a player. And if he's anything like what he was as a player, he's a top, top professional. Very meticulous in everything that he does and I wouldn't expect anything else from him as a coach. I'm sure he'll be hands on."

Meulensteen says he's glad to see the Red Devils taking steps to improve their situation. Experienced Rene Hake, 52, has also been recruited by Ten Hag, while Jelle ten Rouwelaar is set to be named as the new goalkeeper coach.

"There's another coach in Rene Hake who's a friend of his who's worked with him at Utrecht, and I think it's all part and parcel of the review," Meulensteen stated. "The club will have looked at why were there so many injuries and where did they come from? A lot of times, that has something to do with the training regime.

Erik ten Hag is shaking things up with his backroom staff

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Manchester United via Getty Images)

"Training too much, too long, too intense at times. It's a big shake up with regards to the backroom staff, because basically the goalkeeper coach and host of others are leaving, with new people coming in. The whole playing squad will look at a new set of staff, aside from Erik of course."

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