The Manchester United team do not have complete confidence in their coaching staff, according to a new report.
‘Sources close to several senior players have said they feel training could be led by coaches with greater elite experience,’ the report claims.
‘McKenna’s previous experience had been coaching under-18s teams at Tottenham and then United, before Mourinho promoted him to his first-team staff.
‘The Athletic has been told his approach can, at times, be schoolmasterly. There may or may not be substance to that but these are also familiar complaints from players when results begin to turn.
‘A well-placed associate said McKenna has the potential to go on to manage a top-six Premier League club, such is his level of diligence and research when preparing. Others, though, question whether he possesses the requisite charisma.
‘Very occasionally, Solskjaer or Phelan will aggressively let rip in the dressing room, such as after the 3-2 second-leg defeat by Roma in April’s Europa League semi-final (United had won the first leg 6-2 at home) or half-time recently against Villarreal, but that is not McKenna’s personality.
‘More than one well-placed source insisted McKenna commands respect from players through the manner of his set-up but conceded that when he asks them to push past a comfort zone they might subconsciously question his pedigree.’
There is a feeling from The Athletic’s exposé that whilst the players perhaps doubt both Carrick and McKenna’s credentials, Carrick has a more amenable personality, meaning that he is more accepted than the former Tottenham academy man.
Many recent critiques of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager of United have referenced the coaching team he has at his disposal and whether that is the weakest aspect of his management.
Former player and coach Nicky Butt is cited as saying that Solskjaer does not micro-manage and delegates a lot.
However, ‘some sources The Athletic has spoken to feel the collegiate approach means the 48-year-old former striker is not decisive enough at some key moments.’
In other words, Solskjaer’s hands-off approach to coaching will only work if the people he has trusted to do the job deliver. Whether Carrick and McKenna are doing that is increasingly being questioned, even, it would seem, by the Manchester United players.