Confirmed: Mike Phelan appointed as Manchester United’s assistant manager

Confirmed: Mike Phelan appointed as Manchester United’s assistant manager

Manchester United have confirmed that Mike Phelan will assume the role of assistant manager on a permanent basis next season.

The 56-year-old spent 12 years as a coach at the club from 2001 to 2013, working as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man for the last five years of his career.

Phelan returned to the club to work alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from December but doubts have existed over what role he would assume beyond May, with many reports suggesting he would assume the role of technical director.

The club confirmed at Friday’s press conference that Phelan had signed on the dotted line and would be working with Solskjaer on a permanent basis.

This appointment was a necessity for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is clear that, since December, Phelan has taken up a more encompassing role than mere tactical strategy; he is here to challenge the club’s structure, to forge an improved overarching direction for the team, to bring some players down to earth. He has been Solskjaer’s enforcer, the man who knows how this club needs to be run.

Indeed, the Norwegian needs him. Sending Phelan away from the dugout, like the club did in 2013, ahead of an important rebuild which will take years, would be like shooting your own kneecaps off at the starting line. He must be granted the powers to make changes he knows – like all supporters – must happen to get this team competing once again.

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Leo is a regular contributor to The Peoples Person's match day coverage and is still mourning the loss of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal.