sport news Mitchell van der Gaag nearly died in the dugout in 2013... now he could help ... trends now
Things could have been drastically different for Mitchell van der Gaag.
But nine years ago, Van der Gaag stepped away from his own managerial ambitions after collapsing in the dugout as his Belenenses side played Maritimo in Portugal.
He was then 41. He had two shocks from a defibrillator that brought him back round but understandably, Van der Gaag needed time away from the game to focus on his health.
'I'm alive today, it was a very violent thing that happened,' he said in a statement. 'I have a heart problem, some time ago, before arriving at Belenenses.
'I have a pacemaker and defibrillator. On Saturday during the game I felt bad and received two shocks and the unit saved my life.
'I have to leave work, because life is more important. Now my doctor is my coach.'
Mitchell van der Gaag (right) is set to follow Erik ten Hag (left) from Ajax to Manchester United
Van der Gaag stepped up from the Ajax reserve team to work as Ten Hag's No 2 last summer
As a player, Van der Gaag was a centre-back who spent two years at Motherwell from 1995
Two years later Van der Gaag, a former Motherwell centre-back in his playing days, returned to the dugout and took on a handful of roles in Holland on a journey that would lead him to the Ajax reserve side in 2019.
Two years later, Ten Hag promoted him to become his own assistant after the departure of Christian Poulsen and 12 months on from that, the duo are taking over at one of the biggest, and hardest, jobs in world football.
Van der Gaag has established a reputation for himself as a smart defensive coach and anyone who has spent five minutes watching United this season will know that he will have his work cut out on the pitches at Carrington during pre-season.
Harry Maguire's form has nosedived desperately and Ten Hag must view restoring his confidence as a priority when he comes in.
Raphael Varane has struggled to recapture the heights that made him a four-time Champions League winner at Real Madrid and it is believed a