Solskjaer confident Phelan will remain alongside him at United as No 2

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‘He’s a fantastic guy to have around’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confident Mike Phelan will remain alongside him at Manchester United as assistant boss

  • Mike Phelan has yet to commit his future following talks with senior figures
  • It’s understood he wants assurances over the management structure at club
  • When asked if he believes Phelan will stay at United, Solskjaer said: ‘I hope so’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains confident that his assistant Mike Phelan will stay to work alongside him at Manchester United despite the delay in agreeing a long-term contract.

More than two weeks after Solskjaer was confirmed as United’s permanent manager, Phelan has yet to commit his future following talks with senior figures last week.

It’s understood that Phelan wants assurances over the management structure at the club and, in particular, the lines of communication between the coaching set-up and the United hierarchy.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains confident that Mike Phelan will stay to work alongside him

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains confident that Mike Phelan will stay to work alongside him

The 56-year-old is still officially the sporting director of Central Coast Mariners and returned to the Australian club during the recent international break as he keeps his options open.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2 has also been touted as a possible candidate to become technical director at United.

Asked if he believes Phelan will stay, Solskjaer said: ‘I hope so. I want to work with Mick Phelan and I want him to do the job he’s doing. Sometimes in this country, we’re more concerned about what the job title is rather than what people do.

‘What Mick does is more than just being an assistant manager – even if he is the assistant manager. He’s a fantastic guy to have around.’ 

'He's a fantastic guy to have around,' the Manchester United manager said of Phelan (right)

‘He’s a fantastic guy to have around,’ the Manchester United manager said of Phelan (right)

Meanwhile, Solskjaer revealed that United’s new captain will be a ‘cultural architect’ who embodies the values of the club and is a role model for other players.

Club skipper Antonio Valencia will leave this summer after a decade at Old Trafford, having not played for United since January 2.

Ashley Young has been regular captain in Valencia’s absence, but a number of other players have worn the armband including Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Chris Smalling.

Solskjaer must decide on a new leader and will pick someone who typifies the qualities he wants in the dressing-room. 

The focus at Old Trafford has been on a ‘cultural reset’ since the Norwegian returned to the club in December, and a similar emphasis will be placed on the new captain as well as the choice of technical director.

Club skipper Antonio Valencia will leave this summer after a decade at Old Trafford

Club skipper Antonio Valencia will leave this summer after a decade at Old Trafford

‘We’ll see who’s here for next season,’ said Solskjaer. ‘I’ve got a couple of players in my head that could be in the captaincy group. We’ve had Antonio but he’s going. We’ve had Ashley, we’ve had Paul and David. Chris has been captain.

‘There are players here who can be captain on the pitch. We just need to decide who’s going to be the voice in and around.

‘There’s always certain criteria. He has to be one of the “cultural architects”, to put it in a nice word. Someone you look up to, someone with the right habits and standards and the personality to be that.’ 

 

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