Ralf Rangnick named new Austria boss

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Ralf Rangnick has been confirmed as the head coach of Austria's national team.

Rangnick will continue in his role as the interim boss of Manchester United, a position he has held since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was dismissed in November, until the end of the season.

The 63-year-old will prepare Austria for Nations League fixtures against Croatia, Denmark and France at the start of May.

A statement from the Austrian Football Association (OFB) on Friday confirmed Rangnick's contract will initially last two years but, should they qualify for Euro 2024 in Germany, the deal will be extended through to the 2026 World Cup.

"It's an honor for me to take on the role of team boss," Rangnick said. "I'm particularly excited about the prospect of contesting the European Championships in Germany with a young team hungry for success."

Speculation Rangnick would take over as Austria boss increased on Thursday, leading to confusion as to whether he will continue in a consultancy role at Old Trafford next season.

The initial plan was for Rangnick to stay in the dugout until the end of the campaign, then move upstairs to a behind-the-scenes role.

Speaking after United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Thursday, Rangnick confirmed nothing has changed in that regard and he will be available to incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

"Let us speak tonight about Manchester United and our game, the rest of the season here – this is the issue," Rangnick told Sky Sports.

"I can also confirm I will also definitely continue at the end of the season with my consultancy role.

"I didn't say I would be a big part going forward, but we have definitely agreed now both on the content and the time of my consultancy role.

"So far we haven't spoken, Erik and I, but this will hopefully and probably happen in the future, but as I said, I'm more than happy and willing to help, to change things for the better.

"It would leave space for another job, but that's what we had agreed to start with back in November last year."

United have massively underperformed this term with the dismissal of Solskjaer and arrival of Rangnick failing to produce the upturn in fortunes expected.

Rumours of squad dissatisfaction have rumbled on in the background of a campaign that has seen United fall off the pace in the race for a top-four finish.

Indeed, victories in their final three matches will only see them equal their lowest-ever Premier League points return.

However, Rangnick has a high standing in the game and has a wealth of experience.

He helped Hoffenheim from the third tier to the Bundesliga in two seasons and led Schalke to DFB-Pokal glory in 2011.

Rangnick spent seven seasons at RB Leipzig from 2012 to 2019, mainly as sporting director but also two spells as coach in the 2015-16 and 2018-19 seasons as well.

Austria have been searching for a new coach since Franco Foda resigned from his position after a 2-1 defeat to Wales last month saw them fail to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Foda had been in charge since 2017 and helped Austria qualify for Euro 2020.

"We are very pleased that we were able to [appoint] Ralf Rangnick, an outstanding expert in international football, as team boss," said OFB president President Gerhard Milletich.

"We are all convinced that he is the ideal man and that his vision will advance the national team and the OFB."

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