Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is not going anywhere. The English manager has long been a managerial target for some of the top clubs in the Premier League. For example, Crystal Palace wanted the Ipswich manager to replace Roy Hodgson last season. Then, Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion targeted McKenna to fill their managerial vacancies. Even Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag still at the helm, had links with the coach who previously worked as an assistant at Old Trafford.

Regardless of all those connections, all signs point to McKenna staying with Ipswich Town. That is massive news for a club that has exhibited phenomenal success under McKenna. Upon his appointment in December 2021, Ipswich found stability en route to a finish of 11th in the third tier. In his first full season, Ipswich secured 98 points from 46 games with the best goal record and defensive record in the league. The club finished second in League One, earning promotion to the Championship.

Once again, Ipswich showed immense growth under McKenna in his second full year in charge. Ipswich earned another automatic promotion as the runner-up in the Championship. Despite a dry spell of one win in nine matches, the Blues scored the most goals in the competition. Now, Ipswich is back in the top flight for the first time in over two decades, much as a credit to what McKenna has been able to do.

Kieran McKenna is built for Premier League with Ipswich Town

Earning plaudits and links to clubs that have a history of success is a strong indication of what makes a good manager. The nature of pressing high has become common among top European clubs. That not only leads to entertaining soccer, but it has demonstrated success. Leading both League One and the Championship in goals is a positive sign. While reservations regarding these tactics are prevalent in the far more difficult Premier League, McKenna has experience working for various coaching staffs in the top flight.

McKenna worked under Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick while behind the bench at Old Trafford. Therefore, he received the tactical input of someone who out-thinks opponents like Mourinho. He also learned more from the Red Bull school of thought that heavily employs pressing. Perhaps that indicates where McKenna gets his methodology from.

In any case, it showed success in the last two seasons for the Englishman. While tactics have worked on the pitch, McKenna has also been savvy in transfer and loan deals. Omari Hutchinson, a 19-year-old in the Chelsea youth system, scored 11 goals for Ipswich on loan this season. McKenna also targeted players with major experience, including Kieffer Moore from Bournemouth and Brandon Williams of Manchester United. Axel Tuanzebe, another player from McKenna’s time at Manchester United, played a key role in spurts throughout the campaign.

If McKenna can continue his coaching development next season, Ipswich Town can have relative success in the Premier League. It will be a major challenge, and teams dominating in the Championship have struggled in the Premier League. Yet, McKenna will remain one of the top coaches in the minds of elite English clubs.