McKenna explains why he left United for Ipswich

Kieran McKenna has left Manchester United to take up the role of manager at Ipswich Town.

The 35-year-old is swapping Old Trafford for League 1, in what will be his first senior role as a manager.

Ralf Rangnick has already lost Michael Carrick from his coaching staff, and now McKenna and Martyn Pert have also gone.

McKenna has spoken to Ipswich’s official website about why he has decided to leave United at this stage of his career.


“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.”

Speaking to United’s website, he added: “It has been a great honour to work for Manchester United for the last five years. I’ll always be grateful to Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 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.”

Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Coaching change has come at a good time

Football works in unpredictable ways.

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked, there was much discussion about the fact that his coaching staff, of course including McKenna, did not depart with him.

It was widely felt that changes on the coaching staff were needed if United were to improve on the Solskjaer era.

How could Rangnick implement his style of play with Solskjaer’s coaches? If they didn’t depart too, how much had really changed?

Despite United not taking the decision to clear out the coaching staff, that change and evolution has happened anyway.

Carrick of course decided to leave after his brief spell as caretaker manager, taking a break from the game for the first time since his retirement.

Now, McKenna has also departed to forge his own path and that means Rangnick can really surround himself with coaches who understand his philosophy and can deliver it.

The way the situation has worked is positive for all parties and when United can return to training, the benefits of Rangnick having his own staff closest to him should be clear for all to see in the weeks ahead.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.