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28th Feb 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reckons he’s found Manchester United’s “next Michael Carrick”

No pressure then

Darragh Murphy


It’s a lot easier being a Manchester United fan now than it was in mid-December

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has exceeded all expectations since replacing Jose Mourinho before Christmas, suffering just one defeat as caretaker manager in his 15 games at the helm.

Solskjaer’s impact at his former club has sparked cries for the Norwegian to be made permanent manager in the summer and he is already making plans for the future of the club.

Like Sir Alex Ferguson before him, Solskjaer is not afraid of giving opportunities to young players and made James Garner the 230th academy graduate to feature for the Red Devils’ first team in Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

With a worryingly long injury list, Solskjaer handed a debut to Garner in injury time when the result had already been secured.

The 17-year-old has been since been compared to a certain legendary United midfielder by Solskjaer, who admitted that Garner could play against Southampton this weekend.

“I believe he’s got the chance to have a great future,” Solskjaer said post-match. “He knows we believe in him.

“We’ve got great faith in him as the next Michael Carrick. I know he’s young and I know it’s not fair on kids to compare to great players like Michael was, but he’s the same mould.

“He plays simple passes, plays through the lines. Scott McTominay did really well today, some of the passes through the lines into Paul were excellent.

“You’re at Man United, so Michael had the pressure of coming in after Roy Keane, that’s just the way it is at Man United.”

United enjoyed a club-record eighth consecutive away victory when Ashley Young added to a Romelu Lukaku brace to keep United just one point off the top four.

“We’ve been waiting for that chance,” Solskjaer told MUTV after Wednesday’s win. “With Nemanja and Ander injured there’ll be more chances for Jimmy, we might even see him against Southampton on Saturday.”