Ole embraces centre-backs dilemma
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he has his work cut out to keep all of his central defenders happy at Manchester United, as they vie for spots in the matchday squad.
Victor Lindelof and new signing Harry Maguire both started the opening win against Chelsea, while Axel Tuanzebe was an unused substitute, and the boss acknowledges he has a plethora of centre-backs to choose from, with the experienced Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo also available for Monday's game against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Meanwhile, Eric Bailly is continuing his recovery from a knee injury.
Speaking to the media ahead of our first away fixture of 2019/20, Solskjaer reiterated that everyone will have a chance to prove themselves, as the Reds are set to compete in four different competitions over the course of the campaign.
“They're all quality centre-backs and I know that we will need quite a few of them,” he said.
“With Eric’s injury, I've got six fit, which is maybe one too many to keep everyone involved, but then that's our job: to make the most of what we have.
”We've got loads of games and when you get your chance, [you have to] play well. Marcos, Phil and Chris have been here for a long time and they've proven that they can do it.
Tuanzebe's return from a successful season-long loan at Aston Villa has contributed to the selection dilemma facing Solskjaer. The 21-year-old defender impressed on United's pre-season tour and seems ready to compete with more experienced team-mates for minutes on the pitch.
The boss admitted the Academy graduate has exceeded his expectations so far, after featuring alongside Jones and Lindelof during the summer friendlies.
“Pre-season was a great chance for Axel to show what he's capable of,” said Ole.
“I saw him play at Villa, and we've seen him in midfield here and at right-back, but I wanted to see him next to Victor, next to Phil, and we know he's going to be a big, big part of this club in the future.
”He probably impressed me more than I expected, so that's why he was on the bench [against Chelsea] and he's very capable of playing in different positions too.
Rojo could also stake a claim for a role in the matchday 18 at Molineux on Monday night, as the Argentinian continues to train hard at the Aon Training Complex. Solskjaer feels the 29-year-old may not be too far away from a recall to his national team, following his appearances in five of our six pre-season fixtures.
“He's had a very good pre-season,” assessed Ole.
“I think he's getting closer and closer to the Argentina set-up as well, so let's see what the future will bring.”
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