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The former Red Devils assistant manager says he played a big part in his former club's success and is now looking to return to the game in a more prominent management role

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan claims he was the boss, in all but name, at Old Trafford during the last five years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.

The 51-year-old left the club shortly after the Scot’s retirement in the summer and says that is keen to return to the game and ideally would like to work as a manager.

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"With the way things have gone, my first thoughts are to be the boss, yes. It’s the progression for me now," he told the Daily Mail.

"That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five years, albeit with the title of assistant boss.

"[Sir Alex] was the head of the establishment, there’s no doubt about it and rightly so. He didn’t get to where he’s got through not being a big decision maker but he’ll be the first to admit that a lot of people played their part in that.

"We all were undercover in that respect. We weren’t the face of what was going on but that was our job. There’s no problem with that from my point of view. The blinkers are off now because I’m outside of all that."

Phelan spent five years at United as a player in a career that also saw him feature for Burnley, Norwich and West Ham and he says he would be willing to work in the lower leagues or abroad as he looks for a managerial position.

"It’s a case now that if the opportunity comes up to be a boss then I’ll have a look at it," he added.

"I’m quite open and proud enough to listen to anything really. Be it home, abroad, Premier League, Championships or below that. It’s not a worry. I’ve been in the game long enough so I know how to pitch myself in comfortably anywhere. But it’s not my decision.

"I would never disrespect anybody who phoned me up or got in contact. I don’t work like that. It would be what the package is as far as where the club is at, what ambitions they’ve got, who’s in charge of it all and what work you can do there."

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