Ipswich players 'thankful' for McKenna stay - Morsy

Kieran McKenna and Sam MorsyImage source, Getty Images
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Sam Morsy has been captain under Kieran McKenna in Ipswich's successive promotions

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Ipswich Town captain Sam Morsy says the club's players are "thankful" manager Kieran McKenna will lead the club in the Premier League next season.

McKenna, 38, has overseen an incredible rise with back-to-back promotions, with the Suffolk club set to play top-flight football next season for the first time in 22 years.

The Northern Irishman was linked with the Chelsea job last month, but instead signed a new four-year deal at Portman Road.

“It is really important to keep him," Morsy told BBC Sport.

"It was well publicised he could have gone to some big clubs, but he has made history here anyway.

"It is nice that he will continue the journey with us and it would have been a shame if he didn’t do it.

"In the end he has probably thought he has played a huge role in it and we are thankful he can carry on."

McKenna has built 'competitive culture'

In his two full seasons at Ipswich, McKenna's side have played an expansive brand of football that has seen them gain promotion with successive second-placed finishes, scoring 101 goals in League One and 92 in the Championship.

They finished above the likes of Leeds United and Southampton in the table, though the Saints joined the Tractor Boys in the Premier League courtesy of victory in the Play-Off final.

The achievements have made former Manchester United coach McKenna one of the most highly-rated and sought-after managers in the English game, earning the League Managers Association's manager of the year award.

“The manager and staff have built a really competitive culture, one of ownership with everyone having a voice and togetherness," added Morsy.

"We reflect that in everything we do, we have worked hard every day and looked to improve.

"We have managed to stay strong, stay brave and we’ve done it the right way. It is an incredible achievement especially when you consider we have finished above some heavyweights in the division. To do back-to-backs is incredible."

Morsy thought Premier League chance had 'gone'

Egypt international midfielder Morsy dropped down to the third tier by joining Ipswich from Middlesbrough in 2021 and felt his chances of playing in the Premier League had "gone".

On Saturday he captained football organisation Nujum Sports, as they faced an XI led by ex-Aston Villa winger Anwar el Ghazi in a charity match in London to raise funds for the children of Gaza.

Speaking at the match, Morsy, 32, added: “To play in the Premier League myself will be special and was a big goal personally. There were times I thought I would become a Premier League player and other times I thought wouldn’t.

"We are here now and it is a fantastic achievement, especially for a great club with a top manager. The fans have been incredible and everyone united to do something special.

“You just have to look at the clubs that have gone up this season, all would have thought they could survive but the Premier League is a different game. Survival in our first season would be a huge success.”