‘I’m not sure’: Paul Merson raises questions about Ralf Rangnick at Man United

Paul Merson admits he has reservations about how effective Ralf Rangnick is set to be at Manchester United

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has questioned whether Ralf Rangnick will be able to have an impact at Manchester United despite his impressive track record in Germany.

Manchester United are expected to confirm Rangnick as their interim head coach until the end of the 2021-22 Premier League season in the coming days after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last weekend.

The 63-year-old will reportedly move into a consultancy role at the end of the campaign, when Manchester United will move to appoint a permanent successor to Solskjaer.

Rangnick has enjoyed stints in charge of VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, 1899 Hoffenheim, Schalke 04 and more recently RB Leipzig during a 38-year managerial career.

The German’s honours include the Uefa Intertoto Cup, 2 Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal but Rangnick has not managed one of Germany’s biggest clubs such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Rangnick will be charged with trying to get the best out of Manchester United’s collection stars if he does take over as expected, something that David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer have all failed to do.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson haw now expressed his reservations about Rangnick’s potential appointment.

“Why do they need an interim manager? Because they don’t know what they’re doing at the moment, in my opinion,” Merson told Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports.

“Ole would have been at the club still today if it wasn’t for two goals in the last minute at Watford. I don’t think there was any plan. They didn’t think in their wildest dreams it was going to end up like that at Watford. At 2-1, I think he’s still in charge come Sunday. I think they were going to keep it going as long as they could.

“Now, to bring in a manager… I’m hearing people going how great he is – but he’s never managed in England, he’s never managed one of the top teams in the world. Why is that? Why has no one else come in for him when managers have been up?

“I hear great things about him, people saying he’s going to press and he’s hard working and he’s turned lesser teams into real contenders. But that’s a lot different, getting a Schalke or a Hoffenheim to a certain stage.

“When you’re asked to go to one of the biggest clubs in the world and they already have superstars and you’ve got to make them play… it’s all right at Schalke and Hoffenheim because they’re going to listen and they want to get there. These [United] players are there and you have got to get them to go again.

“I think this is going to be difficult, this is going to be a lot harder than what people think.

“What I’m hearing is it’s like a gimme, he’ll come in and that will be it. That Man United are lucky. I’m not sure about that.”

Rangnick transformed Hoffenheim 1899 into Bundesliga title challengers in the 2008-09 season before his squad faded in the second half of the campaign to ultimately end up in seventh place.

The former Leipzig manager has never won the Bundesliga title but Rangnick is considered one of the great German coaches of his era.

Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp gave a glowing review of his compatriot.

“United will be organised on the pitch,” Klopp is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “That’s not good news for other teams.”

“He’s a really good man and an outstanding coach,” added Klopp. “He’s a really experienced manager and famously built two clubs from nowhere to proper forces in Germany – Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

“He’s done a lot of different jobs in football, but his first concern was always being a coach, being a manager, and that’s what his best skill is.”

Manchester United have already lost 5-0 to Liverpool FC and suffered a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Premier League this season to leave the Red Devils out of the title race.

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