Newly-appointed Manchester United first-team coach Mike Phelan has reaffirmed that he will remain committed to A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners as their sporting director after the club endorsed his return to Old Trafford following a five-year absence.
The former Red Devils midfielder, who played for the club between 1989 and 1994 and subsequently was involved in the coaching set-up for over a decade, heads back to United to team up with interim manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer .
A key member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff following his retirement in 1995, he held the position of first-team coach between 2001 and 2008, and assistant manager from 2008 to 2013 for United.
The 56-year-old was only appointed sporting director with the Mariners in July but stressed in an official statement on the club’s website that he would operate in a dual role with both clubs.”
“Taking on a temporary coaching role at Manchester United is extremely exciting,” Phelan stated. “It’s also a really positive step for the Mariners to have a direct link with Manchester United as I will continue my role as sporting director.
“I’m still a Mariner. I’ve put something in place that I want to see through. This might be a small distraction, but it’s with one of the biggest clubs in the world that I simply couldn’t turn down.
“I was offered the opportunity at the Mariners to pass on my experiences and wisdom in order to develop the football club back into the football club that it once was.
“It’s an exciting project, that’s my remit and we’ve put a structure in place with full time academy coaches that will ensure that we are prepared for success.
“Part of the discussion with Manchester United was that I will still be available for the Mariners, this is a dual role. I will take the first opportunity possible to get back to the Central Coast. I’m not going anywhere, I am one phone call away from anyone at the Mariners.
“I will be back on the Central Coast as soon as I can. There’s obviously a few issues to sort through at Manchester United which will take time, but once we’ve worked through that I look forward to getting back to the Central Coast.”
Phelan was later manager at Hull City for half a season, where he won the Premier League Manager of the Month Award for August 2016.