Man Utd will '100 per cent' appoint former coach as manager – but it's not Kieran McKenna

Kieran McKenna has been linked with the Man Utd job. (Image: GETTY)

Kieran McKenna has been among the candidates linked with replacing Erik ten Hag as Manchester United manager after his successful last two seasons at Ipswich Town. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his other assistant from his reign at Old Trafford is destined to return to the dugout as boss one day.

United are reportedly weighing up Ten Hag’s future as part of an in-depth season review that started this week, days after Saturday’s FA Cup win against Manchester City.

McKenna has joined Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Frank and Graham Potter at the forefront of the replacement conversation.

The Northern Irishman’s return to United would be a special story after achieving back-to-back promotions to the Premier League since leaving to become Ipswich manager in 2021.

McKenna spent five years in M16, first as U18 manager before Jose Mourinho named him his assistant. He kept the role when Solskjaer replaced the Portuguese coach.

Carrick sat alongside Solskjaer and McKenna on the bench, joining the latter in significantly contributing to training sessions throughout the Norwegian’s three-year tenure.

However, Solskjaer, who spent three years as United manager from 2018 to 2021, has tipped Michael Carrick to take the job at some stage of his coaching career.

In May 2023, the ex-Red Devils boss told The Athletic: “He’s a winner, a massive winner, yet he stays in control of his emotions. He knows what he wants and doesn’t lose his rag.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Michael Carrick. (Image: Getty)

“He’ll never be emotional and fight with the players. As a player, you’d want to do well for Michael because he cares about you. He wants you to be the best you can be.

“If I was a player, I’d want him as a manager because he wouldn’t be unreasonable. He knows what he wants. He demands respect and hard work, but he gives it back as well.

“He’s knowledgeable, he’s hard-working. When I was at United in 2018, I have to say that Michael and Kieran were usually in the office before me. They were meticulous, looking at every detail.

“Michael has had to change a little bit since becoming a manager. He was maybe too into the details as a coach, but as a manager, you have to take a step back and manage people.

“At United, I’d sometimes see Michael talk to the players. Some of these were ex-team-mates of his which isn’t easy, but he had an authority about him.

“I am 100 per cent sure that Michael will be the manager of Manchester United if he wants to be.”

Carrick oversaw two wins and a draw in the three games he took on as interim manager after Solskjaer’s sacking.

In October 2022, he became Middlesbrough manager, taking them from 21st to fourth in the Championship in his first season.

This term, he guided Boro to the Carabao Cup semi-finals and beat Chelsea 1-0 at home in the first leg before a 6-1 second-leg defeat.

Carrick isn’t in the frame to become United boss in the near future, but he has received a strong endorsement from his former colleague.