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McKenna gone: Why identity of replacement will tell us Man Utd plans for Rangnick

 COMMENT: So who's going to make this call? Better yet, who should be making this call? Ralf Rangnick has lost not one, but two more of his coaching staff this week. And the identity of any replacement could offer us more about the German's position at Old Trafford long-term...

For the moment. As it stands. Rangnick will depart at season's end. At least, that's what's on paper. But as things fall into place around him, the idea of the German 'doing an Ole' and turning this caretaker post into something longer term cannot be discounted.

For now, we're seeing a transformation at Carrington. The youthful, inexperienced staff of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are making way for the battle-hardened Rangnick and his men. It's a contrast and there's no doubt the players are feeling it.

The 35 year-old Kieran McKenna has just left to take charge of League One Ipswich Town, taking with him Martyn Pert. United's former strength and conditioning coach jumping at the chance to work as McKenna's No2. Pert's departure, while under-reported, cannot be underestimated given he's fluent in Portuguese.

Of course, before last week's double departure, Michael Carrick, 40, also walked out. Rangnick made an attempt to convince the Geordie to stay, but he couldn't be persuaded. Like McKenna, Carrick was a Jose Mourinho appointment. United's former manager declaring the decision at the time was made with the future of the club at heart. It was to be expected both men would develop and grow as coaches under Mourinho. The Portuguese promoting the pair to replace his long time assistant Rui Faria: "When Rui is leaving after 17 years I have nobody, nobody in the world of football ready to be my assistant manager. Nobody.

"So I prefer to educate people, to structure my staff in a way where there is space for their education, for their improvement."

Now both are gone. As is Solskjaer. And United's players have found in their place a 63 year-old manager, a 49 year-old assistant in Chris Armas. Plus for many, for the first time a shrink. Let's say, a 'mental coach'. At 46, Sascha Lense has been in the trade for seven years. And - at least perhaps - it's significant Rangnick introduced Lense by highlighting that he was a decent footballer during his playing days. Like Armas, Lense has found a way to stay involved in the game after a lengthy playing career.



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