With the Red Devils devoid of silverware since defeating Ajax Amsterdam in the 2016/17 Europa League final, and currently adrift of the expectation of Champions League football, finishing sixth in the division last term, Ten Hag is rekindling the fire at the club and giving impetus to the magnitude of playing on the Old Trafford turf.
Currently fourth in the league after 17 matches with a game in hand on third-placed Newcastle United – with both sides on 35 points – Ten Hag has already made gains with the outfit; last season, United were seventh with 28 points at the same stage.
But now, with the FA Cup third round serving as the starting point for the Premier League outfits to begin a surge towards domestic glory, the Dutch manager will indeed have his sights set on gifting the supporters a taste of things to come with triumph at the end of the campaign.
Alejandro Garnacho will be the player many fans will like to see on the starting sheet, but one other player who might find themselves at the centre of the tournament is Jadon Sancho, who is failing to replicate his coruscating skills and creative ingenuity that earned him the £73m summer move from German outfit Borussia Dortmund in 2021.
Having made 52 appearances for his current outfit, the 22-year-old has only snatched eight goals and four assists, a stark decrease from his final two seasons with the Yellow Wall, where he remarkably scored 36 goals and served 40 assists in total.
There have been glimpses of what is still to come, with Sofascore record of Sancho’s 83% pass accuracy and 1.4 key passes per match a clear indication of his prowess when selflessly providing for his teammates.
It is also worth noting that with United currently without an established centre-forward, Sancho might be one of the most grateful, with a clinical talisman allowing Marcus Rashford to drift out wide to his favoured position and concurrently permitting Sancho to serve.
And with Everton’s wayward direction and recent 4-1 home drubbing to the impressive Brighton & Hove Albion, Sancho’s fleet-footed weaving and lightning bursts of pace could unravel the Toffees’ backline.
Dubbed a “menace” by Thomas Muller, he holds all the ingredients to make the concoction, just not quite the entire recipe, but when the cogs combine and he gets firing across all cylinders, Ten Hag and Man United will have a fearsome and formidable force to yield for years to come.