Manchester United have made the ‘right choice’ in hiring Ralf Rangnick – but the club will face a crucial decision in the summer when it comes to hiring a permanent manager. That’s the opinion of German midfielder Markus Neumayr, who played at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2006.
Neumayr captained a hugely successful reserve team with the likes of Gerard Pique and Giuseppi Rossi and is well placed to comment on the vision Rangnick will attempt to implement at his former club.
And Neumayr believes United have made a smart move in their new managerial appointment which was confirmed earlier today.
“I think Ralf Rangnick is a manager who doesn’t only care about the first team but who has a clear opinion and idea of how things needed to be handled from the first team until the under-15s,” Neumayr told TalkOfTheDevils.co.uk exclusively. “Therefore I think he is the right choice to bring back the main idea United needs to have in the coming years.”
Rangnick has earned a reputation as one of European football’s innovators and Neumayr confirmed that the domestic opinion is similar.
“His reputation is very good,” Markus says. “But everybody knows that there is no other opinion allowed with him bring in charge. Everybody needs to support him and his philosophy. Otherwise he will be shown the door. Therefore he was struggling to find a club in Germany the last few years who gave him all the power and responsibilities to do so.”
It brings to mind the previous attempt to modernise football at Old Trafford when they hired Louis van Gaal – at the same age Rangnick is now – to try and install a version of Total Football, such was its popularity at the time with the Spain and Barcelona teams coached by Pep Guardiola, who, like Van Gaal, was influenced by Rinus Michels.
Rangnick has been given a similar comparison, in that he is largely credited with influencing Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, although that’s not exactly accurate – the Liverpool and Chelsea managers were more students of the late Wolfgang Frank. It is fair to say, though, that Rangnick is more of a teacher than a student of the gegenpress style, but Neumayr says there are key differences beyond the holistic style.
“You can compare it with Cruyff from the strategic side. But Rangnick’s approach to play football is more result orientated than the “total football” philosophy,” he says. “He loves to work with young players that trust his words without questioning a single word that comes out of his mouth.”
While Neumayr believes it’s the right appointment, he insists that it’s only the start – and the identity of the permanent manager in the summer will be crucial to United’s long-term prospects of success.
“Personally I don’t see him working as a coach for more than the six months remaining in this season,” Neumayr says. “United’s biggest problem will be in summer to find a coach that supports the philosophy of Rangnick. In the last few years he wasn’t known for being a ‘teamplayer’ so it will be very interesting to see what will happen in summer.”