Mike Phelan has signed a three-year contract to become the permanent assistant manager at Manchester United.
Phelan, who was the sporting director at Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, had been deliberating over signing a permanent deal with suggestions he was holding out for the sporting director’s role at Old Trafford.
Phelan said: “I am thrilled to be back as assistant manager. Manchester United has been a huge part of my life since I joined as a player in 1989 and I am delighted to be able to continue that relationship in this key role.
“Since returning in December, I have enjoyed working with Ole, Michael [Carrick], Kieran [McKenna], Mark [Dempsey] and Emilio [Alvarez] and we are all focused on preparing for next season.”
Former United midfielder Phelan, 56, returned to the club with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in December and the Norwegian revealed his delight at the deal.
“I think he’s fantastic at his job as assistant manager and I’m very pleased that finally they’ve agreed. When Ed [Woodward] rang me that was my first port of call to assist me and we’re here now for a few years together,” said At Solskjaer at pre-match press conference.
“I’ve been a player under him and his knowledge, experience, his demeanour, everyone in the club enjoys speaking to him talking to him discussing football with him. Players really respect him, they know what he can do and his worked with the best. For me, I’m a young manager – I still feel I’m young anyway – and Mick’s got more experience in a few areas that I haven’t.”
Phelan’s five years as a player at United was a crucial ingredient for Solskjaer, as well as his long stint as as first-team coach.
“That plays a big part,” added Solskjaer. “That’s the same when I brought Mark Dempsey with me, he’s a Man United man, Michael Carrick is a Man United man, we care about the club and it’s never gonna be about anything else but the club.
“It’s not gonna be about me or Mick. It’s gonna be about getting this club back to where it belongs.”