'Boro are on the lookout for a new manager after the departure of Tony Mowbray, and a former Manchester United assistant and player could well be a good choice for the club.
Middlesbrough are currently on the lookout for a new manager to guide them up the Championship league table. Club favourite Tony Mowbray departed this week after failing to galvanise the side back up into the Premier League. Another former Middlesbrough player has been linked with the role in the form of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. However I think another man in the running for the job, Mike Phelan could be the perfect appointment for the Championship side.
Mike Phelan has yet to manage a side yet, and has spent his coaching career mainly as an assistant, first to Gary Megson at Norwich City, Blackpool and Stockport County, and then to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Phelan spent 13 years at United working his way up from the head of youth excellence, to first-team coach and then Fergie's assistant. Having been surrounded by some of the top coaches in world football, Phelan immersed himself in talent and experience. The success of the United side in that period will have rubbed off on Phelan and he is more than ready now to become a manager himself.
In 2010 when Burnley were looking for a manager to replace Owen Coyle, local boy Mike Phelan was on their shortlist. However Phelan told The Telegraph last month that he was never told about any interest from other clubs during his time at Old Trafford. ''When I got told later on that one or two clubs were interested but I was never informed it actually added value to what I had been doing. If I hadn't been doing my job properly, I would have been on my way". Now he has since departed Manchester United after David Moyes took over from Sir Alex and is ready to become a manager. During Phelan's time at Old Trafford as a member of the backroom staff, United won six league titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League. An impressive CV and there would probably be plenty of Football League clubs willing to take a punt on him.
A lot of top managers have often learnt their trade working as coaches and assistants before becoming the main man. Take Jose Mourinho for example. He was not much of a Football player, and had spells as a P.E teacher, a youth team coach, a scout and as an assistant. He worked under Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, and Barcelona. Top clubs to gain experience at just like Phelan has done at Manchester United.
In his time off since departing Old Trafford, Phelan has been scouting and taking in a lower league matches to help improve his understanding of that level. I think the Middlesbrough job would be a great starting point for him. He would have a decent budget, and is a good coach so would be able to get the best out of the current players there.
Who would you like to see take over from Tony Mowbray?
image: © Iris Chase