How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man Utd

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How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man Utd
How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as Manchester United manager may have ended in disappointment, but it had a huge impact on two of the country’s up-and-coming managers.

When Solskjaer was sacked by United in November 2021 he left behind two proteges in the form of Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna. Carrick was thrust into caretaker charge of United and ended up managing the club for three matches before Ralf Rangnick took over, while McKenna stuck around for less than a month before moving on.

Both coaches were brought into the first-team set-up by Jose Mourinho in July 2018 and stayed on under Solskjaer’s leadership for three years once the Portuguese boss was dismissed just months later.

How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man Utd rridqziqtqitinvKieran McKenna and Michael Carrick worked with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United (Tom Purslow/Getty Images)

United have moved on, with Erik ten Hag stamping his authority on things at Old Trafford, and Carrick and McKenna have done the same in their first full-time management jobs in senior football. Mirror Football takes a look at how the United alumni are getting on.

Michael Carrick

How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man UtdMichael Carrick has made a brilliant start at Middlesbrough (Mike Morese/Getty Images)

Carrick’s football intelligence has been talked about for a long time, with Sir Alex Ferguson a huge fan of the midfielder during his time in charge at United. His standing was shown by the fact that he was kept at the club upon his retirement from playing at the end of the 2017/18 season.

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The 41-year-old worked under Mourinho and Solskjaer before winning two of his three games as United’s caretaker boss. He decided to leave the club in December 2021, rather than work under Rangnick, and, after being overlooked for the Lincoln job, was appointed Middlesbrough manager in October 2022.

Replacing Chris Wilder was not an easy first managerial gig. Having been among the pre-season favourites for promotion, Boro were 21st in the Championship after losing seven of their first 16 league games.

Carrick started his career at Boro as a nine-year-old and promised “passion and enthusiasm” as a minimum upon his arrival. Things could hardly have gone better for the former midfielder since then.

He has won seven of his 10 matches in charge, taking 22 points, which is the most by a Middlesbrough manager since Bryan Robson managed 23 in 1994.

A 3-1 victory over Birmingham on Monday was Boro’s sixth from their last seven games and moved them up to fifth place. Burnley and Sheffield United are clear at the top of the Championship and look likely to take the two automatic promotion places, but a play-off spot is very much a possibility for Boro.

Carrick won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, FA Cup, Europa League, Carabao Cup and more at United – and he appears to have brought that winning mentality to his new club.

How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man UtdMiddlesbrough are fifth after their 3-1 win over Birmingham (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“It’s never enough. We said that at half-time and after the game. I’m really proud of the lads but it’s never enough,” he insisted after the Birmingham win.

“We have to keep pushing and there is half the season to go. I’m enjoying it, it’s a great place for me to be every day. We have great spirit and we have to keep building on that.”

Middlesbrough have the Championship’s top scorer in the form of Chuba Akpom, who has netted 13 goals in 19 games so far. They have an experienced spine to the team, with midfielder Jonny Howson, right-back Tommy Smith and centre-back Dael Fry regular Championship campaigners. There is even a nod to Manchester United in the form of Paddy McNair.

There is still a long way to go in the Championship season and the division remains hugely competitive, with just three points separating fifth from 13th place, but there is no doubt that Carrick is enjoying a brilliant start to life as a manager.

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Kieran McKenna

How Carrick and McKenna have fared in managerial jobs since leaving Man UtdKieran McKenna has won 29 of his 55 games in charge of Ipswich (Chris Vaughan/Getty Images)

Carrick’s former coaching colleague is further down the line in his first managerial job. McKenna was appointed Ipswich Town manager back in December 2021 and has therefore been through a few more ups and downs.

After taking over from Paul Cook, he guided Ipswich to a 11th place finish in League One in 2021/22 – just one place better off than they were when he arrived.

Things are going much better this season. Ipswich are currently third in League One, having lost just three of their 25 matches so far. They had been in the top two since August until a 1-1 draw with 10-man Lincoln on Monday saw Sheffield Wednesday leapfrog them.

McKenna showed signs of the strain that comes with high expectations after the match. “I’ve said in the dressing room that it’s going to be a massive, massive challenge but a great achievement to get this team and this club out of League One,” he said.

“There’s a whole host of challenges ahead of us and that decision was symbolic of one of the big challenges for us. That’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult being Ipswich Town in League One. We have to keep owning the bits we can control.”

While the Ipswich job is his first in the Football League and he is only 36 years old, McKenna is an experienced coach. He has previously coached Tottenham and Manchester United under-18s and is widely respected in the industry.

He faces a major challenge for the rest of the season, however. Ipswich are expecting to achieve promotion to the Championship and the fight against Sheffield Wednesday and current leaders Plymouth for the two automatic promotion places looks set to be fierce.

Felix Keith

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