Who is Kieran McKenna? – All about Manchester United’s first-team coach

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Kieran McKenna in a training session at Manchester United. (Credit: Sky Sports)
Kieran McKenna in a training session at Manchester United. (Credit: Sky Sports)

Who is Kieran McKenna?

Kieran McKenna is a retired Tottenham youth footballer and currently serves as an assistant manager at Manchester United. McKenna previously assisted Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær at the club. He would now oversee the training operations under interim manager Ralf Rangnick. Today we’re going to find out who Kieran McKenna is.

Playing Career

McKenna is a resident of County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. But he moved to London at an early age to take part in Tottenham academy, and the spurs gave him a full-time contract at the age of 16 in 2002. McKenna also represented his country, Northern Ireland, at under-19 and under-21 levels. But a sudden hip injury crushed his dream of becoming a pro footballer for the senior team. He hung up his boots in 2009 after undergoing two operations. 

Kieran McKenna played for Tottenham youth side (Credit: Leicester/BPI/REX/Shutterst )
Kieran McKenna played for Tottenham youth side (Credit: Leicester/BPI/REX/Shutterst )

Coaching at Tottenham 

After losing his playing dream, McKenna focused on coaching. He completed his badges from Tottenham academy and started to work in the youth divisions of the club. After showing impressive results as a manager, he was given the role of in-charge of Spur’s under-18 side in 2015. He led the youth side to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup after beating the Red Devils by a 3-1 scoreline.

Kieran McKenna during his Spurs days (Credit: Tottenham Hotspur Twitter)
Kieran McKenna during his Spurs days (Credit: Tottenham Hotspur Twitter)

During his Tottenham days, he had offers from Liverpool and spent one day in the Melwood facility but decided to opt for Manchester United in the end. 

It is believed that Kieran McKenna has been a Manchester United follower from childhood, and his love for the Red Devils obliged him to leave Tottenham in 2016.

Coaching at Manchester United

Looking at his excellent portfolio and grassroots experience, Manchester United made him in charge of the under-18’s In 2016. He proved his worth just in the second season by winning the Premier League Northern Division title.

After McKenna joined the under-18 side, he received several praises. Former youth player  Indy Boonen praised McKenna’s technique to analyze an opponent and play accordingly.  Jim Magilton, the Irish Football Association’s elite performance director, also lauded McKenna, saying that his techniques aren’t stiff and change according to the need and what’s best suited for the players.

McKenna’s big break came in 2018 when he was asked to take over the assistant manager role to Jose Mourinho along with former Red Devils player Michael Carrick. Mourinho left at the end of the year and was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Kieran McKenna along with Michael Carrick and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United training ground. (Credit Getty Images)
Kieran McKenna (L) along with Michael Carrick and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United training ground. (Credit Getty Images)

It is believed that Manchester United players lost faith in the coaching techniques deployed by the coaching hierarchy under Ole. Reports emerged that the training modules were ‘too British’ and lacked evolved modern interventions, and players believed the coaches “lacked continental expertise.”

Even though there were speculations about the coaching staff under Ole, the Norweigian manager always believed that he didn’t require any change and had the best coaching team available. 

More Manchester United News

Manchester United earlier today officially announced Ralf Rangnick as the interim manager. It is believed that McKenna is looking to sort out the talks with the Red Devils board about his stay at the United contingent under Rangnick. 

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