Ralf Rangnick IS The New Austria Coach

Rangnick Man United
Photo Credit: AP

Ralf Rangnick was named as the new Austria coach in April 2022 on a deal which will extend a further two years if the Burschen secure qualification for Euro 2024.

Rangnick is coming off an ill-fated interim spell at Manchester United, and he will remain involved at Old Trafford in a part-time consultancy role while leading the Austrian men’s side.

Erik ten Hag has succeeded Rangnick in the Old Trafford dugout as the Red Devils embark on yet another new ‘project’.

Ten Hag should have more time to overhaul the team that Rangnick was afforded, but it is as yet unclear how significant a role Rangnick will play in the coming months and years.

Juggling the responsibilities of national team manager and a club role isn’t completely new. Others have done so for a short period. Guus Hiddink did several months as Chelsea interim boss while leading the Russian men’s team.

It isn’t an impossible task, but the value in doing so in this instance is certainly questionable. Keeping Rangnick around while ten Hag aims to settle in is asking for trouble, and the concept has already been widely criticised by pundits.

Speaking on his own podcast, Gary Neville said, “As Manchester United’s sporting director, or consultant, can he really be going to look at Austrian players week in, week out and then selecting them for a national team?

“The Austrian national team have got pride, it’s a great country with great players, so he’ll have to watch them play every week. Then he’s going to go and coach them two weeks in September, October, November and March.

“So then you’re thinking ‘what’s happening to the Man United consultancy and advice? Where’s the priority?’ because there’s a conflict there.

“I don’t see how that can work because if you’re a national team manager – and I’ve worked under a national team manager – I know that they have got to be present watching their players play week in, week out.

“And he can’t be at Old Trafford every single week – not watching an Austrian player play. I don’t know how that’s going to work if it is something that’s true.

“It’s messy. Man United can’t afford to have distractions at this moment in time, they can’t afford to have a poor communications plan around the idea that Rangnick’s the football consultant, but he’s seen watching German football three times a month and then going off to coach the Austrian team.

“There needs to be laser focus, clean lines, people staying in their lanes, understanding what their jobs are and communicating to the fan base that this is a real change and different than it has been for the last 10 years.”

Neville is, as ever, spot on. Rangnick is an intriguing appointment for Austria – how will they feel if he’s spending a couple of weeks a month in Manchester?

How does this align with ten Hag’s vision for the club? What exactly is Rangnick providing for United while he’s scouting Austrian players and coaching during intense international breaks?

The ex-Manchester United right-back isn’t the only former player voicing concerns. Gabriel Agbonlahor spoke to Football Insider about what he thinks should happen.

“Ten Hag will want Rangnick to just go. If I was Ten Hag I would tell Rangnick to go and say ‘I’ll do this myself. You’ve done nothing since you’ve come in, I want to start fresh with my own staff’.

“I don’t think he needs Rangnick there at all. It doesn’t make sense for him to still be there anyway with him taking the Austria job. He should be gone.”

Lothar Matthaus has also doubted the feasibility of this arrangement, saying, “I wouldn’t have done that now as Austria. They had other options, they had national candidates on their list.”

Rangnick is clearly keen to remain involved with Manchester United, claiming he wants to play his part in ‘United becoming a real force again’. What that role actually is, however, is murky at best.

There have already been some curious comments from both Rangnick and ten Hag. The former said he didn’t know the ex-Ajax manager, and the latter said that the deal with Rangnick was an issue for the club.

This doesn’t paint a picture of a harmonious working relationship. The ten Hag era has barely begun, yet it is already off to a shoddy start.

Manchester United’s latest managerial hire deserves a clean slate, and the club risk undermining him from day one if they do not afford him such an apparent luxury.

United have long needed a restructure, particularly when it comes to player recruitment.

Rangnick taking on a Director of Football role would have made sense a couple of years ago, but doing so after a failed interim stint and while managing a national team is less than ideal to put it mildly.

There is a lot of work to do at the club under ten Hag. As Neville stated, further confusion will only set them back further, and potentially lead to yet more errors.

This is without much thought into how it could impact Austria. While there are gaps in the schedule of national teams, they surely didn’t hire Rangnick under the expectation that he would be doing the job on a part-time basis.

It’s barely believable how much of a mess this is already. A manager finished his interim stint and a permanent replacement has been hired and unveiled.

The former interim boss has a new job. It all sounds so straight-forward, yet Manchester United have made this into an unnecessarily dramatic, chaotic situation.

Ralf Rangnick Teams Coached

  • Stuttgart II 1985-87 (40%)
  • Reutlingen 05 1995-96 (51%)
  • Ulm 1846 1997-99 (48%)
  • Stuttgart 1999-2001 (42%)
  • Hannover 96 2001-04 (45%)
  • Schalke 2004-05 (55%)
  • Hoffenheim 2006-11 (48%)
  • Schalke 2011 (43%)
  • Leipzig 2015-16 (58%)
  • Leipzig 2018-19 (56%)
  • Manchester United 2021-22 (38%)


  • Regionalliga Sud – 1997-98
  • Intertoto Cup – 2000
  • Under-19 Bundesliga – 1990-91
  • 2.Bundesliga – 2001-02
  • DFB-Pokal – 2010-11
  • DFL Supercup – 2011
  • DFL-Ligapokal – 2005
  • Bundesliga runner-up – 2004-05