Kieran McKenna speaks out after leaving Man Utd coaching role for Ipswich job

Kieran McKenna has spoken for the first time after leaving his role at Manchester United to become the new manager of Ipswich Town.

The role at Portman Road is the first senior management role of his career and he leaves Old Trafford after three years as an assistant manager.

McKenna has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal and takes over from Paul Cook, who was sacked earlier this month following an FA Cup draw with Barrow.

Ipswich currently sit 11th in League One and are nine points the play-off places having won just one of their last six matches in the league.

Speaking to the club website following his appointment, McKenna said: “I’d like to thank Mark Ashton and the owners for putting their faith in me and Martyn to take the Club forward.

"Leaving a club like Manchester United was obviously a difficult decision, but I strongly believe in the opportunity to build something here.

"It feels like the right time, project and Club to make my first step into first-team management.

"For now, the focus for the team has to be on a huge game on Saturday. After that, I cannot wait to meet everyone and get to work."

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He had come under fire along with his fellow coaches at United following the poor run of form which led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being sacked.

35-year-old McKenna was forced to retire from playing aged 23 due to injury but remained at former club Tottenham Hotspur to earn his coaching badges.

He worked as under-18s manager at Spurs before taking on the same role at United in 2016 ahead of becoming an assistant manager under Jose Mourinho.

Fellow United assistant manager Martyn Pert also moves across to Ipswich and will work as McKenna's assistant at Portland Road.

Pert had been in his role since 2019 after being hired by Solskjaer, having previously spent four years as assistant manager at Vancouver Whitecaps.

Northern Irishman McKenna will be in attendance for Saturday's home match against Sunderland ahead of a press conference unveiling on Monday.

He and Pert will then take charge of their first match away to Gillingham on Boxing Day.

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