Ole on Maguire, Hannibal and Brighton
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen positive things from his Manchester United players over the last two weeks, both at the Aon Training Complex and while on international duty,
The boss reflected on a solid and good break for his squad, with some players able to rest and recover, as a number of Reds away with their countries flourished.
During his pre-match interview with Stewart Gardner, Ole reflected on memorable international goals for Daniel James, Donny van de Beek and Harry Maguire, looked ahead to our Premier League clash with Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday evening and spoke further about Maguire and Hannibal...
You said before the international break that the players would probably benefit from change of scenery with the internationals – do you get the impression that’s happened?
“Yeah. Of course it’s always about crossing your fingers when they go away for the international break. You never know if they play another three games over a short space of time and you just wait for them to come back and see if they’re fit or not fit. It’s been positive in the sense that they’ve seen their friends and national team-mates, and I think they’ve looked bright. The weather helps as well. The ones who have been here had a few days off so they’re more rested and fresh than the others and the ones who played a lot of international football will probably need another day to hold their hand up and say I’m ready for Sunday.”
Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood weren’t able to represent their country due to injury. How are they?
“They need to get through the session on Saturday. They both joined in on Friday morning and hopefully they don’t get any reaction. If they complete the session on Saturday, they’ll be available for selection.”
Anthony [Martial] took a knock with France and I think Victor [Lindelof] did as well with Sweden…
“Neither of them trained on Friday morning. We’re still waiting for final confirmation on how they are.”
I don’t know how much of the internationals you saw but we had Dan James with a towering header and Harry Maguire putting one into the top corner for England…
“Yes I saw those and Donny [van de Beek] scored as well so it was positive for us. You’d probably have expected it to be the other way around with Dan and Harry but great finishes from the two of them. Sometimes you go away and you come back with a little extra spark when you’ve experienced something great and, of course, the boys who have scored come back with extra confidence.”
Could Hannibal be involved in a match squad before the end of the season?
“Yes, definitely. He was unlucky getting injured, six weeks ago, when he was supposed to come up [to train] with us. Now he’s got over the injury and joined in, and he’s done well, the boy. Of course, you drip-feed them in and you don’t expect them to set the world alight, but you want to see them in this environment and he’s looked comfortable and confident. Hopefully, we can give him that extra motivation and inspiration to show even more of his talent and why not?”
Harry will play his 100th game today, if selected. He’s got there so quickly and in such a physical position does it show his resilience?
“He gets better and better the more he plays and he gets into a rhythm. When you get into that rhythm, I don’t think the accumulation of games really catches up with you. Of course, it’s about injuries as well and, touch wood, he’s been very robust. He’s a very reliable human being as well. It’s remarkable how quickly he’s got to 100 [games].”
Brighton have a familiar face in their squad in Danny Welbeck – do you have good memories of being with him here?
“Definitely. I had him in the Reserves when I was coaching them and what a fantastic representative of Man United he is. He’s typical of a young kid that comes through the Academy, you can see the values and his attitude and his behaviour – fantastic. And to see him back fit now is great for us because that big smile of his is great to see. We wish him all the best because he’s had some bad, bad injuries. He’s fought his way back and you see his talent.”
Brighton have had their ups and downs but they’re capable of great results aren’t they?
“They’re a hard team to play against and prepare against. Even though we’ve had good results against them we’ve had to work really hard and dig really deep in all of the games to get the results we’ve managed to get, and we know it’ll be the same again. Our players really respect Brighton and we always get 100 per cent focus and attention in all the prep we do and, when the game kicks off, they’ll all be ready.”