Manchester United confirmed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new interim manager on Wednesday, and one of his assistants at Old Trafford, Michael Carrick, has been hailed for his impact on the younger players at the club.
Carrick, who became a first-team coach under Jose Mourinho last summer, was initially rumoured to be the favoured man to fill the manager’s role until the end of the season, and he joined fellow No.2 Kieran McKenna in taking training on Tuesday and Wednesday following the Portuguese's departure.
But, while Solskjaer will oversee first-team business between now and the end of the season, Under-18s coach Neil Ryan has spoken of just how important former United star Carrick is to the development of some of the club’s younger footballers.
“Obviously, Kieran worked with a lot of the [Under-18s] boys last year and knows them well, and Michael Carrick has been absolutely fantastic with all the young players,” said Ryan following Monday night’s 4-3 FA Youth Cup win over five-time defending champions Chelsea for which both McKenna and Carrick were present.
“He’s absolutely brilliant with the way he speaks to them, and the way he comes and speaks to them after training sometimes. It’s a great support, it’s very much the way Manchester United is, a family feel.
“We’re all working together for a common purpose in the academy and that’s to get players through to the first team.”
And Under-18s captain Brandon Williams added that the contact with the likes of Carrick and McKenna gives the youngsters a big boost.
“Obviously, Kieran’s gone up to the first team and Michael Carrick’s there and they speak to us, and we train with the first team and are always around them, so we look up to them and see what they’re doing and try to follow them," said Williams.
“Michael came in [to the dressing room after Monday’s win], he congratulated us and he was happy with us. It’s good to have them up there, Kieran was our manager last year and knows our ability and knows what we’re capable of.”
While United have brought in Solskjaer and Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man Mike Phelan ahead of the recruitment of a full-time boss for 2019-20, Carrick and McKenna are set remain as a key part of the set-up moving forward.