Rene Meulensteen has resigned as Manchester United’s first-team coach, Voetbal International has confirmed this evening.
The 49-year-old’s resignation ends a 12 year association with the club that had seen him take control of the Youth and Reserve squads before becoming United’s first team coach in 2007.
Voetbal International report that Meulensteen was offered the opportunity to stay with the club in a different role but declined to take up the chance.
It comes as a massive blow to a lot of fans who hoped that Meulensteen would remain at United following the appointment of David Moyes but it seems that the Scot wants to choose the staff he works with.
Meulensteen becomes the third member of United’s back room staff to leave the club within a week following the departure of assistant manager Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.
I had hoped that Rene would become Moyes’ assistant manager due to his long association with the club and the deep understanding he has with our squad having been their first-team coach for the past five years.
Having Meulensteen alongside him would of made Moyes’ settling period much easier at the club so it really is a shame to see him go. His man management skills were fantastic and there was a real sense of mutual respect between him and the players.
The Guardian has followed up the resignation of Meulensteen by suggesting that Phil Neville will replace him as first-team coach.
Rumours have linked the Dutchman with the vacant FC Twente position and despite not having the full coaching licenses, I’d be surprised if Meulensteen wasn’t given the opportunity to manage a team (he did once manage Brondby for a short period in 2006).
I’d like to say a big thank you to Meulensteen for all the work he has done with the squad. He played a major role in the rise of Robin van Persie this season and no doubt was a major figure in the minds of all the players and now that most of the back room staff has left since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, Moyes’ era is well under way.