Ole explains thinking behind our summer deals

Saturday 10 July 2021 12:00

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has outlined his thinking behind the signing of goalkeeper Tom Heaton, plus the contract extensions given to Juan Mata and Lee Grant.

Heaton grew up in the Academy and after a distinguished career away from the club has made a return to Old Trafford. As for Mata and Grant, while both are in their 30s, the boss is clear in his belief that they have a huge amount still to offer.

"Tom is a Manchester United player," Ole began in our interview.

The first interview with Tom Heaton Video

The first interview with Tom Heaton

‘It feels like coming home’, says the England international on returning to the Reds after 11 years…

“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.”

Providing a good example to younger United players is clearly important to Ole.

There are plenty of fresh faces in the United squad, from the more experienced youngsters like Mason Greenwood to those who are just making their first steps in senior football like Amad.

It was a desire to help the development of those young players, as well as to have good squad depth with quality players, that led Solskjaer to extend Grant and Mata's contracts.

“We are a young squad and that’s been part of the thinking," he explained.

Why Mata signed on for another season


The Spaniard speaks out on his new deal, plus his hopes for the upcoming campaign, on his return to Carrington.

"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. 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.”