Kieran McKenna leaves Man Utd to take up first boss role as Ipswich manager

Kieran McKenna has left his role as first-team coach at Manchester United to become the new manager at Ipswich Town.

The Tractor Boys have been looking for a successor to Paul Cook, who was fired this month. McKenna, 35, has never managed a club before but will start on Monday.

He said: “Leaving a club like United was a difficult decision but I believe in the opportunity to build something here.

United granted McKenna permission to spread his wings, with everyone at the club accepting it is a great opportunity for the Northern Irishman, and it has now been confirmed that he will succeed John McGreal at Portman Road.

“It feels like the right time, project and club to make my first step into first-team management. I cannot wait to get to work.”

The Northern Irishman was in charge of United’s Under-18s but was promoted to a first-team role under Jose Mourinho in 2018. He kept that place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

McKenna has told Ipswich’s official website after signing a three-and-a-half-year contract: “I’d like to thank Mark Ashton and the owners for putting their faith in me and Martyn to take the club forward.

“Leaving a club like Manchester United was obviously a difficult decision, but I strongly believe in the opportunity to build something here.

“It feels like the right time, project and Club to make my first step into first-team management.

“For now, the focus for the team has to be on a huge game on Saturday. After that, I cannot wait to meet everyone and get to work.”

He added in a farewell statement on United’s official website:  “It has been a great honour to work for Manchester United for the last five years. When I arrived as Under-18s lead coach in 2016, I had the privilege to work within a world-leading youth development system, coaching excellent talent in a truly fantastic environment.

“I’ll always be grateful to Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I have learnt so much during the past four years and it was a pleasure to be part of such a dedicated group of staff. I would like to thank Ralf Rangnick, I have really enjoyed the short time I have worked with him and I really appreciate his understanding throughout this process.

“From the start of my coaching career, it has always been my ultimate ambition to move into football management and I now have a fantastic opportunity to do that at Ipswich Town, an amazing club with a fantastic history.

“I want to thank the staff and players that I have worked with over the years and, of course, wish Ralf and this incredible club all the best for the future.”

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