Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ready to take gamble by putting faith in Man Utd youngsters
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that putting his faith in Manchester United’s kids is a gamble he has to take.
Just like Sir Alex Ferguson in 1992, the Norwegian has opted to stake his reputation on a brilliant group of youngsters that has come through the club’s famed academy.
But while Fergie delivered a Premier League and FA Cup double as talents such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt took English football by storm, Solskjaer accepts that this will be a season of transition for his new generation of Old Trafford tyros.
After the Busby Babes and Fergie’s Fledglings, it’s now Ole Gunnar’s Young ‘Uns, and it is now up to United’s owners to back their manager in a way not afforded to David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer said: “You can call it a gamble – but I’m just staying true to what I believe in.
“I believe in this way of managing this football club. I am paid to manage – and this is not just about me getting results now to help my reputation or whatever.
“It is about the club going forward in the right direction.
“If we don’t make these decisions now, they will have to be done in 12 months’ time or 18 months or 24 months – because at some point these kids will have to be a part of Man United.
“It’s fair to say the youngsters will play. They have impressed over the last six weeks and in the months before the summer.
“That is why they went on tour and that’s why we have given them so many minutes.
youngsters will come in and give us something extra.”
Solskjaer is aware that United’s fans expected him to break the bank after warning that the squad he inherited from Mourinho required a rebuild.
They have spent £80million making Harry Maguire the world’s most expensive defender – and the 26-year-old is in the frame to captain the team against Chelsea today.
Another £66m has been invested on 21-year-old pair Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James. But £60m has been recouped by the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan.
United still had the second-highest net spend in the transfer window – and more money will be made available for Solskjaer in January if required.
But with deals for Juventus pair Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic breaking down over their wage demands, it means youngsters such as Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner will get their chance to shine.
The stance in the Old Trafford boardroom was that it was always going to take Solskjaer more than one transfer window to remodel the squad after a number of years of spending heavily on big-name players without a long-term strategy.
United haven’t won the title since Ferguson retired in 2013.
And Solskjaer said: “I feel we are on the right track because we have a better squad a better team and a better foundation this season to improve and take that first step.
“But it will take time. We haven’t won the league or challenged properly for six years.
“Hopefully you should see the signs of the team I would want to be in 12 months.
“But it is step by step and for us to give our kids the best chance, we decided this is the right way forward.
“Our average age is a little bit lower. We are not one of the oldest or youngest, but we’re now very similar to most of the top six.
“It’s been normal for me when I have been at this club to be part of a team that should win or challenge.”
He added: “Let’s make sure now that we are part of Manchester United that we surprise a few people.”
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