Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is looking forward to facing Middlesbrough’s Michael Carrick this weekend, with the pair having worked together as coaches at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Carrick, who made more than 300 appearances in a 12-year playing career at Old Trafford, has been in charge of the Teessiders since October 2022, guiding them to the Championship play-offs last season.

He’ll be coming up against McKenna for the first time in his managerial career, which will likely be a strange feeling for both men given their close friendship.

The Town boss revealed that they actually met as players at Tottenham Hotspur back in 2004, although they obviously didn’t know the extent to which their paths would cross in the future.

“He was certainly higher up in the echelons than me,” he recalled.

“When he first came into Tottenham, he actually spent some time in the reserves under Jacques Santini, I think.

“We spent some time in the reserves, and he obviously got promoted to the first team pretty quickly and showed the quality that he had at Tottenham. Of course, he went on to have a fantastic career.

“I’ve known him for a long time. He’s someone I hold in the highest regard as a player, a coach, and most importantly as a person.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna spent three years together as first-team coaches at Manchester UnitedMichael Carrick and Kieran McKenna spent three years together as first-team coaches at Manchester United (Image: PA Images)

“I had a good relationship with him, even as youth team coach [at Manchester United]. He had a couple of injuries, so he spent some time training with us even. He was a fantastic role model, even then.

“We have very similar views on things, on football, how we like the game to be played. There’s quite a lot of things that we enjoy from a tactical point of view and similarities in how we want our teams to go about things.

“We share quite a lot of viewpoints. I’ve learned and benefited a lot from the relationship in football.”

The two managers have remained in touch, with Carrick famously attending Ipswich’s 1-0 win away at Doncaster Rovers in February 2022 alongside former boss Solskjaer.

However, McKenna has admitted that their lines of communication may be cut in the build-up to Saturday’s game as focus turns to securing three points in North Yorkshire.

“It’s not the week to speak too much,” the Northern Irishman explained.

“I spoke to him at the start of the week to catch up on other things, but I don’t think there’ll be a lot of contact before the game. Both of us will be focused on preparing for the game.

“It’ll be good to have a catch-up after.”