Kieran McKenna’s two-word response will delight Man Utd fans amid managerial links

Manchester United hold an interest in Kieran McKenna
-Credit: (Image: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)


Manchester United appear to have a significant advantage in any pursuit of Kieran McKenna as their new manager.

The Ipswich Town boss has become a sought-after figure this summer, having led his team to two promotions in as many full seasons at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys defied expectations to secure second place in the Championship this term, becoming the first club in 12 years to achieve consecutive promotions from League One to the Premier League.

McKenna's ties with Old Trafford run deep, having previously served as a first-team coach at United before taking up the reins at Ipswich in December 2021. With suggestions Erik ten Hag is set to be dismissed regardless of the outcome of Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, the Red Devils' managerial position looks like it will soon be vacant.

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Chelsea and Brighton are also reportedly interested in securing the services of the 38-year-old, whom Ipswich are keen to retain for their return to the top flight. However, it was evident from McKenna's time as a midfield prospect at Tottenham that United held a place near to his heart.

When asked about his favourite player growing up in a 2003 interview with Tottenham's official website (via The Mirror), a 17-year-old McKenna responded: "I have to say Roy Keane." While he named Robbie Keane as his favourite Spurs player, when asked about the player he admired most outside of Tottenham, he reiterated: "Roy Keane again."

Roy Keane, playing for Manchester United
McKenna named Man Utd legend Roy Keane as his favourite player growing up -Credit:Mark Leech/Offside via Getty Images

McKenna has also openly expressed his long-time support for the club and once confessed as Ipswich boss: "Of course it's a massive and great club anyway, but I grew up as a Man United fan with a Liverpool [supporting] brother, so there was always a passion about the club.

"That was always a goal I wrote down [to work at United]. That was always an ambition from when I started my coaching career, and when that opportunity [came] it was fantastic for me. Not one that you take too long to think about."

A comeback for McKenna is possible, with the young coach being considered for the seemingly inevitable vacancy. He is on a shortlist alongside big names like Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, and Thomas Frank, who are all contenders for the position should Sir Jim Ratcliffe swing his axe.