Ricky Sbragia left Old Trafford in December 2005, Sir Alex chose Rene as the man to replace him. The Dutchman's previous managerial credentials had included lifting the Arab Cup with Qatar side Al-Etehad and the Qatar version of the FA Cup with Al-Sadd.
Meulensteen's impact was immediately evident, with United Reserves putting together some stunning football en route to a treble of FA Premier Reserve League Shield, the Premier Reserve League North and the Manchester Senior Cup.
That success earned plaudits throughout Old Trafford, and also alerted a number of external parties to Meulensteen's management potential. It was no surprise when Danish club
Brondby came knocking, and Rene followed his ambition to become their boss.
Turmoil behind the scenes at Brondby prevented the appointment from working out, and Rene left the club by mutual consent in January 2007. Meulensteen returned to Manchester, and Sir Alex was quick to welcome him back to Carrington, initially as United's technical skills development officer. While in that role, Rene became increasingly involved with the senior squad to the point that he became first-team coach early in season 2008/09.