The David Moyes era at Manchester United may not officially begin until 1 July but Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor took his first major decision with the announcement that long-serving coaches Mike Phelan and Eric Steele are to leave their posts, while outgoing chief executive David Gill also admitted he expects England striker Wayne Rooney to remain at the club next season.
The departures of Phelan – who was Ferguson’s assistant for five years having previously been first-team coach – and goalkeeping coach Steele is the first evidence that the former Everton manager is intent on putting his own stamp on proceedings. Moyes is believed to be keen on appointing Jimmy Lumsden, his first-team coach at Goodison Park, and Steve Round, while Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt will also have roles within his coaching set-up.
“I would like to put on record the club’s thanks for everything Mike and Eric have done,” said Moyes. “I will be looking to appoint my own members of coaching staff at some point in the future, however, I’d like to take this opportunity to give them both our best wishes for their future careers.”
Phelan was first signed by Ferguson for £750,000 from Norwich in 1989 before returning to the club as a coach. Former Brighton and Derby County goalkeeper Steele had been at United since 2008 following spells with Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.
After Rooney submitted a second transfer request in nearly three years last month, Moyes is believed to have already met up with the player he managed as a teenager at Everton to discuss his future. Ferguson revealed after his final match in charge at Old Trafford that the 27-year-old’s request had been turned down, with talks over a new contract well under way.
Now Gill, who was elected to Uefa’s executive committee yesterday, has insisted “every bit of work” is being done to prolong Rooney’s nine-year stint in Manchester.
“As Alex said at his last press conference, that’s an issue for David and the new team but I’m confident he’ll be there next season,” he said.
“I think he’s a great, great player at a great, great club and the club doesn’t want to lose its star player. I’m sure every bit of work is being taken with Wayne and his advisors to ensure that happens. I’m not a betting man but I’m confident I’ll sit at Old Trafford next season and see Wayne Rooney running out.”