Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in stand-off with David de Gea over Man United future
FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 9th 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is refusing to give David De Gea any guarantees that he will keep his place in Manchester United's team for the Europa League final.
The £350,000-a-week Spain international produced a man-of-the-match performance as the Red Devils booked their trip to face Villarreal in Gdansk on May 26 despite losing their semi-final second leg against Roma.
De Gea has been replaced by Dean Henderson as United's No.1 and is set to be sold in the summer.
But Solskjaer will not allow sentiment to cloud his judgement as he looks to land his first trophy as United boss.
Asked whether De Gea will play against the La Liga club, he said: “I’ve got to make difficult decisions before the final – but I feel I’ve got to make very difficult decisions every time I pick a team.
“We’re Man United and we should have competition for every single spot in the team.
“I’ve always got top quality players on the bench, whether it is centre-forward, right-wing, right-back, centre-midfield or keeper.
“I’ve said it so many times that I’m the luckiest manager in the world with the two keepers I’ve got.”
United's trip to Poland falls on the 22nd anniversary of Solskjaer's winning Nou Camp strike against Bayern Munich to clinch the Champions League and seal the treble.
It will also be exactly 122 years since the birth of legendary Red Devils boss Sir Matt Busby
Solskjaer said: “It’s a very very good date for us.
“Of course, from 1999, but I remember it is Sir Matt’s birthday as well.
“So it’s a special day for the club, it’s a special day for me and even though I’m not superstitious I hope it’s a good omen.
“That’s the responsibility and the trust the club have put in me - to get us up the table and into finals and then hopefully win trophies.
“We’ve had a long spell with no trophies, no finals, and now we’ve got a chance and I feel that the team is ready for it.”
Solskjaer still hopes that landing a trophy will help to convince Edinson Cavani to stay at the club another year instead of taking up an offer from Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
The Uruguayan has been a model professional since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain on a free last summer.
And Solskjaer has spoken of the impact the 34-year-old has had on the pitch – and United's young players.
He said: “When I had Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager, I must have picked up something from him.
“We also had Ryan Giggs playing at the age he played - and his team-mates picked up something from him.
“Edinson is like that as well. He is 34. He lives his life absolutely like a top professional, and I’m so pleased to have him in this squad.
“Even with his little English, football is a language everyone understands.
“His preparation and focus and concentration and professionalism is something that everyone understands and they see it every day.
“That is great for my young team. Sometimes, even I look at him and think 'wow, at that age I had to retire because of my knees.'
“I wish I could have kept going like he does and I keep telling him to play at the highest level for as long as he can and to enjoy it because suddenly it is taken away from you.
“Hopefully we can see him here again next year.”
Harambee Stars defender Okumu joins top football club
By Waweru Titus