Following this morning’s shock announcement from Old Trafford as Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho, who should take over the Red Devils’ reins?

Michael Carrick is currently set to take caretaker charge until end of season as United look to ‘conduct a thorough recruitment process for a new, full time manager.

With several top managers currently employed by other clubs, this is going to be a difficult search but there are some top candidates available as we assess who deserves this prestigious job. 

 

Michael Carrick

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Michael Carrick is an obvious candidate given his experience of the club and would command respect of the squad. 

He however is still in the managerial infancy so would be a huge risk for United to promote, given their current issues in terms of performance and challenging for titles. 

I therefore can’t see him being under consideration for the full time role just yet, but he should be ready in a few years time to be the successor to whoever gets appointed next summer. 

Managerial potential: 2/5

Antonio Conte

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Out of all available managers, Antonio Conte has to be a decent punt given what he achieved at Chelsea in his first season before a tougher second season saw them just win the FA Cup. 

His 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation however is something which the current United squad would probably struggle to adapt to, except for Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw who could probably showcase their full talent under Conte. 

Conte however comes with a history of controversy from alleged match fixing in Italy to waving at Chelsea home crowd when the Blues were leading Man U 4-0 in a league meeting, which was viewed as trying to antagonise Mourinho. 

That aspect is something which the board probably cannot afford to handle as they continue to try and rebuild the club.

One positive though is that Conte is like a cool cucumber when it comes to ignoring off pitch dramas but not as talented in that regard as the next candidate. 

Managerial potential: 3/5

 

Rafa Benitez 

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If want a manager who can cut it with a midtable team and handle never-ending off pitch dramas, Rafa Benitez would be perfect for Manchester United. 

Although currently in charge of Newcastle United, Benitez has demonstrated an exceptional ability to handle a difficult board who haven’t provided proper backing in the transfer market for past two and half years. 

Add in his impressive record with at least one trophy achieved during his reign at each of his six clubs so far, then its hard to see why he wouldn’t be a perfect fit at Old Trafford in terms of moving them forward into becoming proper title contenders for first time since the Fergie era.  

Compared to Newcastle, Man U have the likes of David de Gea, Pogba and Romelu Lukaku who all has the potential to deliver their best under a manager like Benitez.

His tactical 4-2-3-1 formation style of trying to exploit weaknesses in opposition however carries risk, as if the opposition can match United or dominate then we could yet see more dour football which is the last thing any football fan wants to see at Old Trafford. 

One positive though is that Rafa is able to remain calm in face of off pitch adversary, as demonstrated on occasions when club ownership of Newcastle was hot topic in press.

That quality is something which United players need rather than a manager who will air internal club affairs to the media and fans, therefore distracting them from producing their best form.

I therefore can see Benitez being the perfect fit at Old Trafford given his demeanour as a manager and ability to win trophies, plus he would be available for nothing at end of season. 

Managerial potential: 5/5 

 

Mauricio Pochettino

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At start of this decade, Tottenham Hotspur struggled to qualify for top four whilst United were always in top three but since Sir Alex Ferguson left and Spurs gained Mauricio Pochettino, the table has flipped somewhat. 

Pochettino therefore would be the ideal man for United who need someone who is prepared to fully back a long-term project, can spend wisely in the transfer market and invest in their youth whilst getting best out of his first team squad. 

Although his tenure at Spurs hasn’t wielded trophies, he has built a team who improve year-on-year and is capable of fighting with the top boys as demonstrated on occasions in Champions League. 

Pochettino’s achievements however goes beyond the club because he has given England fresh hope with a strong selection of English talent from Dele Alli to Harry Kane and potential future stars in Joshua Onomah and Kyle Walker-Peters to name but a few.

If I was therefore a Man U fan, I would be thinking “This is the sort of manager we need although admittedly we won’t win trophies immediately but in 4-5 years, he will have us back on top with exciting football and young English prospects in the team.”

The big question though is ‘Will Man Utd fans have enough patience to back Mauricio Pochettino?’  

Managerial potential: 4/5

 

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