David Moyes has had to make his first big decision as Manchester United manager involving his backroom staff. As expected Mike Phelan has been relieved of his duties as assistant manager.
This was a predictable turn of events. Any new manager usually wants a trusted right-hand man by their side and the belief is that either Jimmy Lumsden or Steve Round will arrive from Goodison Park to take the place of Phelan; who had been assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson since 2008.
But while many could understand the need for this restructure Moyes’ other forced resignation has raised a few more eyebrows.
Moyes has also decided to part company with goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.
Steele, who has helped mould the likes of Joe Hart, Mitchell Langerak and David Watson, has been at Old Trafford since replacing the retiring Tony Coton in 2008.
But now Moyes is ready to replace him with his own man in former England goalkeeper Chris Woods.
Moyes is a huge fan of the ex-Sheffield Wednesday stopper who was originally appointed by former Manchester United assistant manager Walter Smith on Merseyside. Woods has performed wonders into turning another former United man, Tim Howard, into one of the Premier League’s most consistent stoppers after his troublesome start to English football.
But many a Manchester United fan will be upset with the revelation as the close relationship between Steele and current number one David De Gea is said to be one of the reasons why the Spaniard has improved so much this season.
After a difficult first year between the sticks at the Theatre Of Dreams the 22-year-old has improved drastically this term; earning a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Steele has gone to extraordinary measures to improve De Gea’s Premier League game; including learning Spanish so that he is easier to understand and bringing in a weights programme to accommodate the lightweight Madridista to English football’s rough and tumble.
And it has clearly reaped huge benefits; so you wonder if Moyes desire to bring in his own man has blinded him slightly to the already exemplary work done by Steele on the Carrington training ground.
For De Gea it will come as a blow because throughout his time at Old Trafford one man who has indefinitely stuck by him through all the hard times has been Steele; who once compared to him legendary custodians Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon.
For now De Gea must prepare for the UEFA Under-21 Championships in Israel but when he returns to England he will quickly have to learn how to interact with a new goalkeeping coach who will likely have plenty of new methods and ideas ready to implement.
For United fans, De Gea and Moyes the hope will be that nobody is thrown off track by the latest developments.
Do you think Moyes was right to have sacked Steele?
image: © James Boyes