MK Dons confirm appointment of Liam Manning as first ever head coach

Liam Manning has been coaching in Belgium.
Liam Manning has been coaching in Belgium. Credit: PA

MK Dons have appointed former Ipswich Town academy coach Liam Manning as their first ever head coach.

The 35-year-old has spent the last year in charge of Belgian second tier side Lommel SK, guiding them to a third placed finish.

Before his time in Belgium, he worked as an academy coach at both Ipswich Town and West Ham United, helping players like Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell break into the first team at Portman Road.

He's also credited with playing a big part in Declan Rice's rise to prominence at West Ham.

Manning, who once was a player in Ipswich's academy as well, succeeds Russell Martin who recently took the Swansea City job.

He's the first head coach in MK Dons' history, with the club having previously gone down the traditional management route instead.

He will work closely alongside sporting director Liam Sweeting who will take care of things like transfers.

Manning will be in the dugout for the first time on Saturday when the Dons host Sunderland.

Liam Manning: Everything you need to know

Who is he?

Liam Manning is the new head coach of MK Dons. His first senior job was with Lommel S.K in Belgium's second tier. He guided them to a third place last season. His team scored 49 goals and registered 14 wins. Before that he was an academy coach at both Ipswich Town and West Ham United.

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Was he a player himself?

Yes, he was. He was in Ipswich Town's academy but never made a senior appearance. He also played for local Suffolk side Leiston under the management of Ipswich legend Jason Dozzell.

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What are his coaching credentials?

Manning has a reputation for developing young players. At Ipswich, he helped players like Connor Wickham, Flynn Downes, Luke Woolfenden and Andre Dozzell break into the first team. He had similar success at West Ham, where players like Declan Rice, Grady Diangana and Reece Oxford benefited from his coaching.

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Russell Martin recently left MK Dons to take the Swansea job. Credit: PA

"This is an ambitious Football Club that believes in playing a certain way - a way that the fans are used to and demand and one that I believe in too. We also have a squad full of quality and exciting players, who I can’t wait to get to work with," Manning said.

“Me and my family are going to move here to live within half an hour of the area so that we can integrate ourselves into the community. That is important to me because, as we learnt last season, football is for the fans.”

Chairman Pete Winkelman added: “We are really excited to welcome Liam Manning to the Football Club. It has been a hectic couple of weeks but we are delighted to now be in a position to introduce him as our new head coach and be able to look forward to what the future can bring."

Manning will be joined at Stadium MK by Newcastle United under 23s coach Chris Hogg who played alongside him during his time as a player in Ipswich's academy.