‘He’s living for it’ – Wout Weghorst explains Erik ten Hag passion at Manchester United

February 27, 2023

Wout Weghorst capped a remarkable two months by winning the first trophy of his career with Man Utd in the Carabao Cup final..

The United players filed out of the national stadium in club tracksuits. Some had shirts in bags. Jadon Sancho carried a boombox, Lisandro Martinez held the trophy under his arm. But Weghorst was the only one wearing one of the scarves that will forever be associated with the first trophy of the Erik ten Hag era.

There is the promise of more to follow, maybe as soon as the next couple of months. If Ten Hag is as successful as the travelling Stretford End believes he will be then this late February day against Newcastle may be just a footnote in history.

If that is the narrative that follows then Weghorst may be the last answer in the quiz question when it comes to naming the first team to win a trophy for Ten Hag, but on this day it meant as much to the loanee as to any other player in that squad.

There was a scene soon after the final whistle when the Dutch striker was caught kneeling down in front of the United fans, looking at the scenes of celebration with what seemed some bewilderment. You could hardly blame him. Seven weeks ago he was still in Istanbul, seeing out the season with Besiktas to avoid a campaign in the Championship with Burnley.

So, if he’d been told two months ago that he’d be winning a trophy with Manchester United, what would he have said?

A couple of seconds pass by as the 30-year-old considers how his career has changed. Then: “Deal!”

The smile on his face sums up the near absurdity of the scenario. He has joined a squad full of winners, but after 419 games, this is his first medal.

“In the Netherlands I played two cup finals, lost both of them,” he said. “This was the third time. Of course that’s something special and of course you put in all the hard work, hard effort to get really something in your head.

“I just took a moment [after the game]. I can do really tough or I can do really cool but for me this is a childhood dream. A childhood dream to play for this amazing club, to play a final and also be important in this final with [the assist for] the second goal.