Kieran McKenna's Ipswich stay 'massive' - Cameron Burgess

PERTH, Australia -- Ipswich and Australia defender Cameron Burgess has said that manager Kieran McKenn rebuffing interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Brighton to remain with the club is a sign of the newly promoted Premier League side's intent.

After taking over in 2021, McKenna led Ipswich to a second-place finish in the Championship last season, becoming just the fifth manager in history to secure back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League.

The 38-year-old's success at Portman Road saw him linked with a series of managerial vacancies across the English top flight, including at Old Trafford, where he worked under José Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and Ralf Rangnick as well as in the club's academy.

However, he opted to spurn this interest and lead Ipswich into their first season in the Premier League since 2002, signing a new four-year contract in May.

"That's the first step really," Burgess told ESPN. "The boss staying is massive for the club and probably shows our intentions as a club.

"Me, especially, and the whole club are under no illusions of how difficult it's going to be to make that step up. But we also meet it with excitement and full optimism that we can we can go and show our stuff on the biggest stage.

"Let's attack it like we've done with our last season.

"We'll look to hit the ground running and, hopefully, we can show off what we're capable of. And, hopefully, it turns out to be a successful season."

Reports have indicated that McKenna will become one of the highest-paid managers in England under the terms of his new deal, with the club's ownership group -- headed by U.S. based investment fund ORG -- expected to provide him with the backing to strengthen his squad.

For Burgess, who joined Ipswich from Accrington Stanley in 2021, matters of squad strengthening are "above my pay grade," but he has no doubt his coach is well worth the investment. It's no surprise in his mind that some of England's biggest clubs came knocking for his services.

"He's a special talent of a manager," he said. "Simple as that. I've said it many times and all my teammates have said the same thing; we owe him a lot personally. He's done wonders for our careers. We've landed on our feet to have him as our manager.

"The environment works for him. What he's got in us as players and trusts us in what we do. Anything he asks us to do, we're doing it gladly because everything he'd told us to do so far has worked wonders. So, we owe him a lot.

"I'm just delighted that he's sticking around for a little bit longer."

Burgess, 28, is currently in his hometown of Perth, and is expected to start for Australia in their World Cup qualifier against Palestine on Tuesday.

The towering centreback is one of several players in the national side celebrating a recent promotion to a major European league. Harry Souttar was a part of the promoted Leicester squad, Jackson Irvine and Connor Metcalfe are set for the Bundesliga with St Pauli, and Alessandro Circati will play in Seria A with Parma.

Goalkeeper Joe Gauci, meanwhile, earned a move to Aston Villa in January while 18-year-old Nestory Irankunda has signed for Germán side Bayern Munich. Former Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo was promoted alongside Burgess at Ipswich.

"The boys doing what they've done this season help us put the country on the map a little bit," Burgess said.

"I don't think it's a secret what you're getting from Australian players in terms of the work ethic and the drive to do well, the determination is all there.

"Maybe it's a little bit of an untapped market, but at the same time, now you're seeing younger [Australian] players get these sort of high-profile moves."