When Romelu Lukaku powered in his second goal against Burnley, Jose Mourinho sprang to his feet and pumped his fists. To his right, Michael Carrick did likewise.
To the Manchester United manager’s left, celebrating just as enthusiastically, was a less familiar face. New to the United dugout this season is Kieran McKenna, promoted to the position of first-team coach after Rui Faria unexpectedly left Old Trafford in May.
McKenna is only 32 but the baby-faced coach has risen quickly into a prominent role at the club after joining from Tottenham in 2016. He managed United’s Under 18s last season, overseeing a vibrant brand of high-scoring football, and was picked by Mourinho to fill the gap left by Faria, his trusted aide since 2001.Mourinho may tread cautiously over young players but he has a history of looking within when jobs come up on his staff. Brendan Rodgers, Andre Villas-Boas, and Aitor Karanka have moved into management after working under him.
This summer, Mourinho could have recruited any number of more established coaches from across the country or abroad but he chose a Northern Irishman already in the building.
Age-group results and performances were a major factor. McKenna’s side scored four goals or more in eight matches during 2017-18 on the way to winning the Under-18 Premier League title.