MK Dons Appoint Liam Manning as Head Coach

Liam Manning
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MK Dons have appointed Liam Manning as their successor to Russell Martin. Manning joins the club from Belgian side Lommel after one season in charge.

The 35-year-old has previously coached at Ipswich Town and West Ham United in England, while he has also been the academy director at MLS outfit New York City FC.

The Dons were left without a manager or backroom staff for their opening League One match at Bolton Wanderers after Martin left to join Swansea City.

Veteran defender Dean Lewington was placed in charge for that match, which ended in a 3-3 draw.

Liam Manning Appointed as New MK Dons Manager

A Fitting Appointment

MK Dons are known for appointing either largely unheard of managers or those who are looking to gain their first experience of first-team management.

Karl Robinson was the first back in 2010 and he has since gone on to manage over 600 games in the EFL. Dan Micciche was also in charge for a brief, unsuccessful spell during the 2017/18 season and Martin was appointed back in 2019 while he was still a player at the club following the sacking of Paul Tisdale.

The method has largely been successful, so it’s no surprise to see them go for another new name in Manning. Despite his limited exposure in England, though, this has the potential to be an exciting appointment.

As well as being a highly-respected coach at both Ipswich and West Ham, Manning has experience of working within the City Football Group, a network of clubs across the world that has Manchester City as its top team.

New York City, where Manning served as academy director, and Lommel, the club he leaves behind just five days before the start of the Belgian season to join the Dons, are part of the CFG.

Teams within the CFG are drilled to play a certain style, and that will be something Manning will want to introduce to his MK Dons side.

It might not be too difficult, either. The Dons under Martin, particularly in the second half of last season, drew comparisons to Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s teams for their possession-based, pressing style.

The current Dons squad is also one that Martin built, seeing as his last game in charge was actually the first of the season; a heavy defeat to Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup. Before the approach from Swansea, the plan would have been to build on the performances from last season. Manning now has the right tools to do exactly that.

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