Why I rejected chance to coach Man Utd after Ralf Rangnick tried to hire me as assistant

GERHARD STRUBER has exclusively revealed he REJECTED Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United offer – but backed the German to cause a big surprise this summer.

The 47-year-old spent a successful season in England by keeping Barnsley up against the odds in the Championship in 2020 after arriving from Wolfsberger in his Austrian homeland.

Ralf Rangnick endured a miserable time during his brief staff at Man UtdGetty

Gerhard Struber rejected the chance to leave New York Red Bulls and join his coaching staffGetty

He left for MLS side New York Red Bulls after just 11 months, having previously started his coaching journey in the Red Bull set-up, which is where he became acquainted with Rangnick.

But it was not long before he had a huge opportunity to come back to these shores in the Premier League after Rangnick was appointed United interim manager in November 2021.

Last week he was part of the official international delegation that witnessed Michael Owen launch the brand-new Pakistan Football League.

And Struber, who worked in insurance during a three-year break from coaching, exclusively told Sun Sport why he turned down the biggest club on the planet and a man he has the utmost respect for.

He said: “I was only one year at this time in New York and he called me to ask me to come with him to Manchester United to be first-team coach.

“But it was not the right moment for me. I was a head coach and I think he was initially only on a contract for half a year, so nothing was clear for after that.

“Also, they gave him maybe not the biggest power and it was more of a caretaker role and I thought, especially at Manchester, that these boys needed a manager. That was very clear.

“So it was not the right moment but I had a contract in New York.


“I’d left Wolfsberger after half a season, then I moved from Barnsley after one season and it would have been moving from New York after one season – this would paint a picture of me that I didn’t want.

“And, I also see myself as a head coach, not an assistant coach.”

Struber eventually left New York Red Bulls to take over sister club RB Salzburg last July, but he was let go by the Austrian giants in April after they finished second.

Rangnick, meanwhile, has bounced back from his Old Trafford misery and transformed the Austrian national team and takes them into Euro 2024 in fine form.

Struber said: “He did a great job the last few years with Austria. He implemented the ideal football to bring the group together and also it brings results.

“We have got a good collective but not the biggest stars – and I think that with this style of play, against any team in the world, we will get good chances.

“They are unbeaten in seven and have won six, so the spirit in the team is outstanding.

“Every single player is happy when they come together to play for Austria and this is a new move.

PAStruber says he has been in talks with several clubs about a return to the Championship[/caption]

GettyRangnick is set to lead in-form Austria into Euro 2024[/caption]

“The old legends say ‘we need an Austrian coach, only an Austrian coach can bring this fire’ – and he’s shown it’s absolutely not necessary.

“Ralf has shown in the last few years that he is outstanding as he’s brought this fire to the group but also a clear identity for Austria to be successful against teams with a completely different quality of players.”

When asked if Rangnick was hurt by United, Struber replied: “Yes, of course he was. I know it was one of his dreams to work in England and for it to end how it did it was hard for him.

“On the same hand, we all know the professional world, and with the task he has with Austria he is super happy.

“He had a big offer from Bayern but he decided to stay as national coach and I think that it’s a big signal for the team, Austria but also for himself, that he is at an age and has the experience that he does not feel he has to go for an offer like Bayern.

“He is comfortable in himself and he’s seen so many things over the last 20 years and he’s super happy with this job and making an influence.”

Struber is not a man for regrets as he plots his next career move.

The in-demand coach has interest from clubs both in the Championship and elsewhere in Europe.

And he confirmed that he has already had talks about a potential to return to England – a place he says he only left last time due to the pull of returning to Red Bull in a senior position after learning his trade there.

While reports in Germany also claim that he could be about to take over at Cologne.

But discussing England’s second tier last week, he said: “I know the Championship from my time at Barnsley and how challenging it is but I like it so much.

“The atmosphere in the stadiums, the direct style of play, and it is special that the second league in the country has an atmosphere like that.

“But also, the football quality at this level makes the league so interesting to coaches from all over the world who want to work there.”

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