Mike Phelan’s role at Manchester United is effectively that of ‘joint-manager’ alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims leading journalist Jason Burt.
Former Manchester United midfielder Phelan worked as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant between 2008-2013, and many saw it as a shrewd move that the 56-year-old became part of Solskjaer’s backroom team when the Norweigan took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho in December.
However, Burt claims that Phelan’s role at Old Trafford is far wider reaching that it was originally thought and that he is actually part of a managerial double team with Solskjaer.
“So there is an awful lot of work to be done at United and key to that is partly the structure around him and I would not underestimate the influence of Mike Phelan,” Burt told Sky Sports Sunday Supplement.
“The way it has been explained to me is that it is almost a joint-manager thing, he is so important in the decision-making process and he has a big say.
“And then they have to appoint a technical director, so there is an awful lot of work still to do behind the scenes to sort things out.
“I think it is still a risk because whatever you say, this is still a huge job for someone like Solskjaer to take on board. He has done all the right things so far, but now he has some very hard decisions to make as well about the what happens about the future of the club and what players he wants to bring in and the players who want to go and stay.”
Solskjaer was announced as United’s permanent manager on Thursday after a superb run of results since taking over the reigns, although it is yet to be confirmed whether Phelan will extend his time with the club beyond this season, with the former Hull City manager currently combining his role with that of Sporting Director of Australian side Central Coast Mariners.