'Safe and sensible' - Lee Sharpe sends shock Man United manager message to Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Former Manchester United and England winger Lee Sharpe has named the manager he thinks should be given the job of leading the club next season.

Erik ten Hag has come under increasing pressure after a dismal campaign. United's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are all but over and they sit seventh in the Premier League table.

The FA Cup remains the one hope of success this term, with United taking on Coventry City at Wembley on Sunday. Even winning that trophy, however, may not be good enough to save Ten Hag from the axe.

Co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos are assessing the Dutchman's future and weighing up a series of potential candidates to replace Ten Hag. Among the options is England manager Gareth Southgate, who is admired by Ineos sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford and the incoming United sporting director Dan Ashworth.

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Southgate remains the favourite with bookmakers but ex-England winger Sharpe believes his style isn't right for Old Trafford. Southgate has guided England to a World Cup semi-final and the final of the European Championship, but has often been criticised for a cautious approach in games.

"Southgate obviously has the experience on the big stage and they don’t come much bigger than managing England,” Sharpe said. “He has dealt with the pressure of that exceptionally well, but I’m just not sure he’s right for Manchester United.

England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate -Credit:BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

"He isn’t positive or attacking enough for United, he’s too safe and sensible – I’m not sure he’s the right fit. At the moment he is picking from the best crop of players in the world with England and he certainly wouldn’t have it that easy at Manchester United.

“United have already been down the route of hiring experienced managers with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. Then they tried something different with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was younger – none of those have worked out.

“Manchester United is a one-off club when it comes to the expectations, the pressure and the size of the club. It is a different beat for any manager coming in. You need experience under your belt and I question whether Ten Hag has found the size of the task a bit of a shock.”

Despite questioning whether the size of the task is too much for Ten Hag, Sharpe believes he should be backed this summer and stay in charge for at least another season.

Ten Hag's cause this season has not been helped by a raft of injuries, although other clubs have also suffered badly. Many of his signings have also failed to inspire, but Sharpe believes continuity is key at Old Trafford now.

Speaking to BetVictor, Sharpe a: dded"Whether or not the new ownership at Manchester United will stick with Erik ten Hag is the million dollar question. They have chopped and changed managers every year or two ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left and if they do that again they’ll just put themselves back to square one.

"I think it is time to nail down the manager, give him money to spend and give him a few years to progress without having to worry about being sacked.

"Injuries have hurt Ten Hag, but I’ve also seen some team selections and substitutions from him that have been a bit concerning for the fans and could be for INEOS as well. I think I would give him another year because with an injury-free squad and a couple of extra players they could certainly mount a challenge for the top four.

"A lot depends on whether or not the players that the club are bringing in are Ten Hag's players. Someone like Sofyan Amrabat, who can’t really get a game, springs to mind.

"It seemed like Antony was probably one of his signings but he hasn’t turned out to be the player that many thought he was. Mason Mount was a funny purchase and I’d question whether he was the manager’s choice or someone from the recruitment side.”