Wout wins at Wembley, under wizard Ten Hag suddenly everything is possible again at Manchester

Wout wins at Wembley, under wizard Ten Hag suddenly everything is possible again at Manchester
An overjoyed Wout Weghorst after winning the League Cup, his first cup

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  • Thierry Boon

    at the League Cup Final at Wembley

  • Thierry Boon

    at the League Cup Final at Wembley

While the Manchester United soccer players are tripping over each other with happiness, someone is grabbing a moment to himself. He is squatting, right in front of the frenzied fans. He sees thousands of emotions on thousands of faces. He enjoys.

Wout Weghorst wins at Wembley. It reads like a comic book, but is reality. Just now Newcastle United has been beaten 2-0. The League Cup final is won, and with it, the first prize of the season is in for United.

Casemiro, creator of the opening goal and proclaimed man of the match, once again whips the crowd with arm gestures. Meanwhile, many fans display the Argentine flag, which Lisandro Martinez, booster as ever, then looks at with a satisfied smile.


Weghorst (not good enough), Casemiro (too expensive) and Martinez (too small): when they came to United there were doubts about all three. Precisely they are the players whose character – for that is what they have – makes the machine built by Erik ten Hag run.

“You do feel that something special is going on, you can also taste that in the team,” stated Weghorst, good for an assist in the final. “We have guys who know what it takes to win prizes. So does the coach himself, who lives for that and radiates that.”

Weghorst wins at Wembley: ‘Special feeling, not experienced like this before’

“I do have a special feeling here at United, I must say. I’ve had a number of clubs, but I’ve never experienced this like this before,” said a beaming Weghorst, who won his first prize at 30.

Character team

For years United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, was a soulless team full of loners. Under Ten Hag, it has become a character team full of passion. The once modal soccer player from the premier league is currently the king of Manchester.

“There is a form of optimism and excitement that hasn’t been felt like this for a few years. And certainly not for a long time since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013,” knows BBC journalist Simon Stone, who has followed the club for more than 20 years.

“You can’t say his predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho weren’t good coaches. But Ten Hag has the whole club behind him now. He has found a formula to create a team that plays nice soccer and wins.”

United fans lyrical about Ten Hag: ‘He is the man we needed’

It is deep into the second half when the entire “red” side of Wembley is scanning his name. The 53-year-old Ten Hag from Haaksbergen, hailed on holy soccer ground. It really is.

“Every fan loves him,” shouts a young United supporter. “He has brought back faith,” his father adds. “We feel like going to the games again. Normally everyone played for themselves, but now they play for the team. That is to Ten Hag’s credit.”

What about Weghorst? He too can count on support from the fans. “I’m happy with Weghorst instead of Cristiano Ronaldo,” says one middle-aged fan. “He gives this team exactly what we need. He just needs to score some more goals.”


Back to that moment after the final whistle. The crouching Weghorst right in front of the stands. Alone for a moment. Away from the rest. A moment of reflection, says the striker from Borne.

“During a final day like this, everyone tells you to enjoy it. But it’s only about one thing: delivering. You’re in full focus all day. So yeah, then you don’t enjoy it as much.”

“Then when you finally win, you delivered and you see those fans go. I did learn to really take your moment then and enjoy it. I took it all in,” Weghorst said, as his eyes began to shine.

Weghorst is just about the last remaining player in the mixed zone, the space where dozens of journalists try to score quotes from players in a chaotic setting.

The trophy they won is already on the bus by then. Martinez had the honor of bringing it, clasped between his hands, with him. And even the success coach, clad in a cap and with a big grin on his face, was received by the room after a round of congratulations.

Weghorst sees it all happening. It sometimes seems like it is only in those moments that he realizes what a special place he is a part of.

“I can start acting all tough or cool here now, but I’m just standing here as a Manchester United player. We played the final, won and I’ve been important. That’s quite nice.”

Kayleigh Williams