Who is Rene Meulensteen & is the ex-Man Utd coach likely to return to Old Trafford?

The 57-year-old has been linked with a return to Old Trafford this week - we explain why and look at his career so far.

Rene Meulensteen. Credit: Getty.

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen has been suggested as a possible addition to the club’s coaching staff, by ex-player Paul Parker.

The 57-year-old is currently working for the Australian national team as part of Graham Arnold’s coaching set-up, and has worked with the Socceroos since 2018.

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Rene Meulensteen and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Who is Rene Meulensteen?

Meulensteen is a former Dutch professional footballer who played exclusively in the Netherlands during his career.

Upon retiring, he moved into coaching and joined United as a youth coach in 2001. Excluding a six-month sojourn spent managing Danish outfit Brondby, Meulensteen remained at Old Trafford until 2013, and progressed to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand men in his final years at the club.

The coach then departed United in 2013 after David Moyes’s appointment, with the now West Ham United manager choosing to bring in his own staff.

Meulensteen went on to manage Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, before taking charge of Fulham during the 2013/14 season. The Dutchman also managed in Israel and India before taking up a role with Australia.

Why has he been in the news?

Former United defender Paul Parker told TalkOfTheDevils podcast that Solskjaer should consider reappointing Meulensteen to work alongside Mike Phelan again, as was the case during Ferguson’s final years in charge.

"There’s nothing wrong with blowing a bit of dust off a book and reading it,” said Parker.

"At the end of the day it was the same when it was brand new as it is now, it’s just matured a bit. And someone like Rene wouldn’t have changed. There’d be more positives to gain, he knows everything about the club, everything about the football they want to play.

"Whenever you listen to him speak, people want to talk to him about United and you can see that it is still within him. It’s part of his DNA. I see nothing wrong with him coming back.

"The boss, Sir Alex, would do things differently too. He’d bring in people – like Rene – who had different ideas and who were strong enough to question the things he was doing.

"He wouldn’t be putting himself under pressure by bringing him in, because he wouldn’t want his job in a million years, but you’d be bringing in someone to improve the team.”

Rene Meulensteen. Credit: Getty.

Could he return to United?

You never know in football, and Solskjaer does have a penchant for hiring coaches with connections to the club, such as Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna, Mike Clegg, Mark Dempsey and briefly Darren Fletcher.

However, ManchesterWorld understands Meulensteen had an acrimonious split from United when he left the club in 2013.

A source previously told ManchesterWorld that “the difference between Meulensteen and Phelan is how they reacted to Moyes’s decision”, with the latter once again a coach at United.

There’s also been no suggestion from the club, Solskjaer, Meulensteen or Parker that a return is on the cards for the ex-Red Devils coach, so a change of employment for the 57-year-old seems unlikely at this point.