Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Marcus Rashford.

Ole: Reds won't rush Rashford

Wednesday 22 September 2021 09:58

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Marcus Rashford is unlikely to be available until mid-October as the striker continues his recovery from a shoulder operation.

The boss provided an update on the England international, who has missed the start of the season after undergoing surgery, during an exclusive interview with club media to preview the Carabao Cup third-round tie with West Ham United.

The earliest possible comeback target for Rashford is the Reds' first assignment after the next international break - a tough trip to Leicester City on 16 October - but there is plenty of football to be played before then, starting with the visit of the Hammers to Old Trafford tonight (Wednesday).

Here is what Ole told us, in full, at Carrington in advance of the game...

'They are champing at the bit' Video

'They are champing at the bit'

Ole explains in his match preview why his players are ready for another challenge from West Ham...

We face West Ham on Wednesday. How do you get the lads prepared for another competition like this?
"That’s easy. It’s another game, the next game and, of course, after the win on Sunday, everyone is looking forward to the next one. You do anyway, if you lose or you win but the spirit is good and it’s a new challenge."

This competition is a great chance to get some vital minutes for players – did you always have a team in mind when you play the same side in quick succession?
"It’s strange how it works out and you meet the same team twice in three days. We need to give some minutes to a few, that’s definite, and I think we’ve got a good squad. Quite a few of these are champing at the bit to show what they can do."

There’s some great talent coming through Academy too. Anthony Elanga is one of those, how pleasing is it to see him developing so well?
"Anthony was terrific in pre-season – his attitude, his enthusiasm, his directness. I love to see players like this and, of course, he was disappointed not to travel down to West Ham but scored for the Reserves, or Under-23s, and now he’s ready. He’ll be involved in the squad, yeah."

The fans were excited to see Marcus and Alex [Telles] training, how is it going for them?
"Yeah it’s going well. They’ve worked really hard, both of them. Alex is a bit further on than Marcus. I don’t think we’ll see Marcus until after the international break but Alex has worked well and will be in the squad as well."

Do you have any more injury updates?
"We lost nobody on Sunday so it’s the same squad or same pool of players to choose from. We know it’s early on in the season and some need minutes to get their proper fitness up so I will make a few changes."

Phil Jones was honest about his mental and physical challenges over the weekend and is working hard, what are your thoughts on his progress?
"I’m so happy for Phil. He has completed two 90 minutes for the Under-23s and played some minutes behind closed doors and he’s got no reaction on his knee. He’s been working really hard. I’ve been part of that myself and had the best part of three years or at least more than two out of three years and I know what challenges he’s been through, mentally. Thinking will I ever play football again or even be able to walk again and be able to play with the kids in the garden. He’s been so diligent and so professional; no frills, no social media and I’m old school. I like players like that. He just focuses on one thing and gets his head around the challenges and he’s back. He will also be in the squad. It’s a good day for him and for us and it’s something that he has earned."
You know about last-minute winners – how much of an impact will Sunday have going into this – does it provide a confidence boost?
"We all thought Jesse’s goal would be the dramatic end and finale to that game but then we should have had a penalty and they get a penalty and David makes that save. That’s drama and how football should be, well for supporters not for us. It’s why we almost get heart-attacks and lose our hair! It was a great end to the game and when you come out with three points, it’s a better way to win a game than winning 5-0. It brings everyone together and you can see the delight in everyone’s faces after the game. You pat Jesse on the back, pat David on the back, and Cristiano scored again, of course."