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Ralf Rangnick has been involved in football management for 38 years, but one Manchester United player had no idea who he was when he landed the manager’s job in November.
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as United boss in the wake of the 4-1 defeat by Watford, there were several names in the frame to succeed him.
Managers like Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino don’t require much explanation to football fans, given their recent exploits in the game.
Pochettino may still arrive at Old Trafford, with United targeting the Paris Saint-Germain boss as their long-term manager.
But rather than go for an established big-name manager to take over from Solskjaer, United went fairly left-field to appoint Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development.
Rangnick left the relative obscurity of a behind-the-scenes role in Russia to enter the spotlight at Manchester United on November 29.
His work as sporting director and manager at RB Leipzig and his influence on the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel meant he was far from a nobody.
However, his time out from top-level management – he last took charge of Leipzig in 2019 – meant he was not well-known at his new club.
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According to ESPN, one United player had to Google Rangnick’s name just to learn about who the 63-year-old was.
That goes against the words of United director of football John Murtough, who announced Rangnick’s arrival with great fanfare.
“Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football,” he said.
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“He was our number one candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.”
United’s players will now know all about Rangnick’s methods, after playing six games under his management.
The German coach has tried to implement his favoured 4-2-2-2 formation, but there is work still to be done, with the team labouring to a 1-0 defeat by Wolves on Monday.
- Jurgen Klopp
- Mauricio Pochettino
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Manchester United FC
- Ralf Rangnick
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