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‘No way he goes to Man United’: Potential Ten Hag replacement urged to avoid Red Devils job

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While Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Newcastle cleared some of the dark clouds from the Old Trafford sky, the future of Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag remains as murky as ever ahead of this weekend’s Premier League curtain call.

Will that trip to Brighton represent Ten Hag’s final top-flight fixture in charge of the Red Devils ahead of a Louis van Gaal-style exit immediately after the subsequent FA Cup final?

Or will Ineos stick with the embattled Dutchman, in the hope that the success of his first season in charge of Manchester United can be replicated with a clean bill of health, a summer of intelligent recruitment, and with a proper sporting structure in place?

That remains to be seen as we await their final decision.

Kieran McKenna, Manager of Ipswich Town, celebrates after the team's victory during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Ips...

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Erik ten Hag’s future uncertain at Manchester United

Reporter David Ornstein told the Back Pages podcast this week that, if Ten Hag does depart, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is ‘keen’ to bring in a young, up-and-coming manager to take his place, rather than a more so-called proven tactician such as a Thomas Tuchel.

Kieran McKenna, the former Old Trafford coach working wonders at Premier League-bound Ipswich Town, certainly ticks that box at the age of just 38. McKenna, labelled a ‘genius‘ and perhaps the most exciting young English coach in the game right now, took over Ipswich back in 2022 when the Tractor Boys were treading water in the third-tier.

Less than two years later, Ipswich are back in the big time. Successive promotions a remarkable achievement from a man who’s loyalty could be tested this summer having earned the admiration of numerous clubs.

For Neil Warnock, a man very much at the other end of his managerial journey, the Man United job would come far too soon for McKenna, however, if indeed he is offered the chance to return to the north west and step into Ten Hag’s shoes.

“There’s no way he goes to Man United,” says Warnock, who holds the record for the most professional games ever managed by an English coach (talkSPORT, 16 May, 10am).

“He’s not ready for Man United yet.”

  • READ MORE: Every manager linked with replacing Erik ten Hag at Manchester United

Kieran McKenna likely to stay at Ipswich Town

The former Leeds, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace boss is backing Ipswich to buck the recent trend, meanwhile, and avoid an immediate return to the EFL like Burnley, Sheffield United and (almost certainly) Luton Town.

“Everything (Ipswich) have done – to get two promotions – it’s not easy,” Warnock adds. “There’s no reason why they don’t sustain it. It is going to be difficult, all three promoted teams have gone down, but there’s a good atmosphere at Ipswich.”

McKenna, who formed part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s backroom staff at Man United alongside now-Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick, pledged his future to Ipswich after their latest promotion was secured a fortnight ago.

Ornstein, meanwhile, insists that there are no discussions currently underway to take McKenna back to Old Trafford.

“I imagine he is among many names they are looking at if they undertake a managerial change,” one of Britain’s most respected reporters explains.

“McKenna is young, which is something I hear Sir Jim Ratcliffe is keen on should Man United need to make an appointment. He has (been) doing fantastically well at Ipswich, and has close ties to (United).”

“But from the checks I’ve made, there has been no movement from Man United towards McKenna. And, at present, the prospect is not expected to develop.”

  • READ MORE: Who are INEOS? Exploring Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s billion-pound business

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