Manning has taken MK Dons to 'another level', says McKenna

Milton Keynes Dons' manager Liam Manning during the Sky Bet League One match at Adams Park Stadium,

Liam Manning has guided MK Dons to third place in League One. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna believes Liam Manning has taken MK Dons to 'another level'.

Manning started his coaching journey with Ipswich's academy before going on to have roles at West Ham, New York City and Belgian club Lommel.

The 36-year-old replaced Russell Martin in the MK Dons' hot-seat last August and, with former Town men Chris Hogg, David Wright and Lewis Price in his coaching set-up, has guided the Buckinghamshire club to the third in League One heading into the final stages of the campaign.

Speaking ahead of Town's trip to Stadium MK tomorrow, McKenna said: "Everyone speaks highly of Liam from his time here.

“He’s had a good impact at MK this year going into a club where they already had a very well established style of play and culture there, but I think he’s taken the team on to another level and is doing a good job."

McKenna, 35, has made a similar breakthrough into senior management this season after starting coaching at a young age within the academy set-ups at Tottenham and Manchester United.

"I think that is something that will grow in this country over the next few years," said the Blues boss, who assisted both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

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“I think there’s such good work done at academy level throughout the clubs in England. The developments at the academies over the last 10 years probably has been at a really high level.

“Obviously that’s with players and the number of players coming into Premier League teams at a younger age and the number of young players going into the England national teams.

“But also with coaches. There are probably more coaches, more opportunities for coaches to develop themselves to a really high level through the academy system and progress their careers on from there.

“I think it has been a little bit behind in this country over the years in terms of younger coaches coming into the senior game and getting opportunities.

“You can see it in countries like Germany. Over the last 10 years in the Bundesliga, there have been a host of coaches who have gone into big, big clubs in their 30s and gone on and had good successes and built up really successful careers.

“I can only say that I know there are some fantastic young coaches out there who are working in academies, and older coaches working out there in the academy system.

“I think the importance of developing players and developing teams is also vitally important at academy level. I think there’s a big crossover there, a big crossover of skillsets that can travel into the first-team game.

“I was very appreciative of Manchester United giving me opportunities initially in the senior game having come through the academy there and come through the academy at Tottenham.

“But then appreciative of Ipswich giving me this first opportunity as a manager and I think it’s something that hopefully we’ll see a little bit more in the future and it can be a good thing for the English game in general, I think.”