Town boss McKenna adds ex-Manchester United player to coaching staff

Manchester United goalkeeper Lee Grant

Lee Grant is set to join Ipswich Town as a first-team coach - Credit: PA

Kieran McKenna has added former Manchester United goalkeeper Lee Grant to his coaching team.

The Town boss has discussed the possibility of adding a further coach to his backroom staff since his arrival at the club in December, with Grant set to to fill the position having announced his retirement from playing earlier today.

McKenna is, of course, a former Manchester United assistant and knows Grant well from their time together at Old Trafford, where he also worked alongside current Town No.2 Martyn Pert.

Manchester United goalkeepers David de Gea (left) and Lee Grant during the training session at the A

Grant, pictured with United No.1 David de Gea - Credit: PA

Grant, a goalkeeper with more than 500 professional appearances to his name, arrives to work with Ipswich’s first-team outfield players. Rene Gilmartin will continue in his role with Town’s goalkeepers.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I am really looking forward to it," Grant said.

“I know Kieran and Martyn having worked with them at Manchester United and I loved the work we were being given from a playing perspective. Now I am excited about working with them again, albeit in a different role.

“I feel really blessed that I have been able to make the decision to retire and go straight into an exciting role with Ipswich Town. Over the last few years, I have been preparing for this moment by obtaining my coaching licences, expanding my network and working on a business degree. It has all been with the intention of being in a good place for a smooth transition at this point in my career.

“I could not be joining a club with a more exciting footing than Ipswich either. There is new ownership, new direction, a driven manager and a squad that is also hungry to go and achieve things. As I say, I am excited to get to work and I will be ready for when the squad returns ahead of the new season.”

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The 39-year-old has been working towards his coaching career for several years and will now take his first steps at Portman Road, with management a future goal.

“I’ve been very much intent on progressing and I’m now at a stage where my (UEFA) A-Licence is in my back pocket, I’m hopeful to be on the cohort of the next Pro-Licence,” he told MUTV in September. 

“I’m currently studying for my LMA Diploma in Football Management, which is a diploma that the manager at this football club (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) has taken, so he’s given me great encouragement in pursuing that. 

“There’s a possible degree in business that’s coming along in the pipeline as well so there are lots and lots going on.”

Grant, who played for Derby, Stoke, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday during his career as a starting goalkeeper, played just two games for the Red Devils in four seasons but has often been heralded as an important figure within the camp.

The former goalkeeper has also previously discussed how he has used McKenna as a sounding board, along with former United coach Michael Carrick.

“Michael and Kieran allow me to come and sit down and get ten minutes with them in the media room or the analysts have got time for me if I need it to have a chat and chew their ear off about what we are doing or where they are finding stats or how they are interacting with manager and this and that.

“I am always asking those types of questions, I am constantly watching what the gaffer is doing, how he interacts with people, and I'm just busy learning what it is like to be at an elite football club and how these things can help me go forward because I have got my own aspirations after the game.

"I want to coach, I want to manage and I feel like I am in a really good place, in a really good football club to learn about how to go about doing that."

Grant joins a backroom staff also including the club's head of analysis, Charlie Turnball, as well as a Performance Team led by Andy Rolls.

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Grant, pictured playing against Ipswich at Portman Road for Derby - Credit: Archant