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Manchester United appoint John Murtough as football director; Darren Fletcher promoted to technical director

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward: "These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success"

John Murtough and Darren Fletcher
Image: John Murtough (left) has been named as football director at Manchester United, while Darren Fletcher has been promoted to technical director - credit Manchester United

Manchester United have appointed John Murtough in the new role of football director, while former midfielder Darren Fletcher has been promoted to technical director.

The Premier League club has announced the two new roles which "will further strengthen the club's football operations", after years of speculation over the absence of a director of football at Old Trafford.

Murtough has been at Manchester United for seven years, most recently occupying the role of head of football development.

In his new position, he will work alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to "align recruitment and other strategies", as well as "create the structures, processes and culture to deliver sustained success on the pitch", according to a club statement.

"This is such an exciting time for everyone at Manchester United with the first team, Academy and Women's team all performing strongly, and plenty of development still to come," Murtough said.

"It's a privilege to be part of that process, and an honour to lead Manchester United's football department, working alongside Ole, Casey and so many other truly outstanding staff all dedicated to delivering success to this club."

Darren Fletcher, Manchester United (PA)
Image: Former Manchester United midfielder Fletcher has impressed after joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's coaching staff in January

Former Manchester United midfielder Fletcher, who joined Solksjaer's coaching staff in January, will step up into a new technical director role, which will focus on "a co-ordinated and long-term approach to player and squad development".

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"It is great to be back with the club and I am delighted to be taking on this new role," said Fletcher, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League as a player at Old Trafford.

"We are moving in the right direction and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Ole and his coaching team, and now with John as the Football Director, to help bring young players through and further develop the football side of the club.

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"It's fantastic to see that all the staff here are driving Manchester United forward towards a new era of success."

Matt Judge, who has the new title of director of football negotiations, will also report to football director Murtough.

Ed Woodward, Manchester United executive vice-chairman, added: "We have already made great strides forward in the way we run our football operations, and the benefits are visible in the resurgent pipeline of Academy talent reaching the first team and through our improved recruitment record.

"John has been integral to our progress in these areas and his deep understanding of development ensures the club's traditions of bringing young players through from Academy to first team will continue. This new position is a natural evolution that harnesses his leadership qualities and his years of experience in the game.

"Darren's stellar achievements as a player and his own journey from Academy to Premier League and Champions League winner means he naturally commands respect and understands this vital part of the club's DNA."

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Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper says Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's power 'remains undiminished' after John Murtough was appointed football director, while Darren Fletcher has been promoted to technical director

'Solskjaer's power undiminished by structural changes'

Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper…

The process has taken a considerable amount of time but they have got a new structure in place. I think it's more evolution than revolution, albeit this is Manchester United implementing change in the football club that hasn't been seen in the history of Manchester United.

There's a football director, John Murtough, a technical director in Darren Fletcher who will be familiar to everybody, and a director of football negotiations, Matt Judge, though he has been involved in the club for a long time so that's really just a change of title. He'll still be negotiating transfers in and out of the club as well as contracts.

Manchester United have looked at the sporting director role, which is traditionally an overarching role between the CEO - or in this case, the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward - with the manager below. But that hasn't happened this time - the authority and power of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is undiminished by these changes.

Ed Woodward
Image: Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has described the appointments as 'hugely important'

It's more a management team and Solskjaer certainly retains his veto when it comes to transfers. His power is completely unaffected and he's working with people he knows very well. It's a hybrid, nuanced model with people who understand how Manchester United works. But it's still a significant change for this football club.

I think Ed Woodward will be hoping his phone rings less. The point of contact will now be John Murtough. He's someone who stays away from the cameras but he's been at the club for seven years since being brought in by David Moyes back in January 14. He's rehashed the recruitment, he's worked on the academy and he's also been instrumental in sorting out the women's team.

Everyone knows Darren Fletcher's pedigree but he's made a really big impression since returning in January. He'll be looking at the performance of the club, not just at first-team level but also the academy. He'll feed into the first team and the academy but in the short term will continue coaching.

Manchester United now have a structure in place that they think suits them and they're really focused on winning back the Premier League. They think bringing these people into these roles will help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do that.

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