Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s warning to Man Utd youngsters who “think they know it”

examples


Manchester United are a club which prides themselves on utilising home-grown talent, having named at least one youth graduate in every match day squad since October 1937.

Under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nine academy graduates have made their Premier League debuts for United, with Tahith Chong, James Garner, Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams, Dean Henderson, Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga, Will Fish and Hannibal Mejbri all progressing through the youth setup.

The Red Devils do have a very young squad, with just six players currently over the age of 30.

Among those players are Juan Mata and Lee Grant, who have both recently extended their contracts, as well as new signing Tom Heaton.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been keen to promote youth
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been keen to promote youth
(Image: PA)

Speaking to United’s official website, Solskjaer has outlined the importance of having these types of players at the club, explaining that they “can be an example day in and day out” to “young lads [who] think they know it”.

“We are a young squad and that’s been part of the thinking,” Solskjaer said. “We have the professionals that can be an example day in and day out.

“Our young lads think they know it because we bring the up through the Academy and they do learn good habits.

“But then they come into the first team and see World Cup winners like Juan and the way he conducts himself, even if he doesn’t play.

“He didn’t play as much as he would have liked to last year but he’s never ever letting himself or his team down with his attitude.

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“So [they are] good examples and Lee, as well, knows he’s got good goalkeepers ahead of him but the example he sets is something we have to reward them [for] and it makes the group better, and they’re still good players.”

Regarding Heaton, he added: “Tom is a Manchester United player. He’s been here and felt this is coming home and closing the circle.

“He’s had a very, very good career so far and been a part of the England set-up. For him to come in now, taking his challenge, I think is what he needed, that last step now.

“He’s such a top professional and such a top guy to have around and that will help the young lads.”

Heaton spent 13 years at the club as a youngster, leaving to join Cardiff City permanently in 2010 having failed to make a senior appearance for the Red Devils.

Speaking after his return was confirmed, the 35-year-old said: “For me to have the opportunity to come back after spending 13 great years here as a kid, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m really, really excited to get started.

“I’m just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give and I’ve got the bit between my teeth.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers.”

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