Shola Shoretire and Hannibal.

Ole's nod to greats as United blood more youngsters

Monday 24 May 2021 10:50

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to lead the club by respecting our best traditions and Sunday's Premier League finale provided another example of this.

Even though the Reds' unbeaten away run throughout the league season was at stake, he trusted in youth against a full-strength Wolves side, and was rewarded with a satisfying 2-1 win.

After the game, he said: "I think it was a game in the spirit of Man United, Sir Alex and Sir Matt, that you give kids the chance." 

Hannibal and Will Fish's introduction as substitutes now make it 16 Academy products blooded by the boss since he took charge.

Seven homegrown talents featured overall at Molineux with three more remaining on the bench in Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Anthony Elanga's opening goal ensured he was the 19th teenager to score in the Premier League for the club, a record only beaten by Arsenal (20).

Sir Alex Ferguson recently said that youth was the foundation of Manchester United, and it should never be a problem to play youngsters, if they were good enough.

Ole has been in charge for 150 games, only a tenth of the figure managed by the legendary leader he played under. Sir Alex's 150th match came in a 2-2 draw at Wimbledon as the 1980s were drawing to a close. Fittingly, a youth product, in Mark Robins, scored one of the goals that day at Plough Lane and he had shown faith in the system even before the emergence of the outrageous Class of '92 crop.

Admittedly, squads may have been smaller back then but Ferguson had introduced 10 youngsters at that point, with keeper Gary Walsh the first and Robins having the biggest impact, even though Lee Martin would go on to score the winner to earn the manager's first trophy at Old Trafford in 1990.

Louis van Gaal fielded 12 youth-teamers and Jose Mourinho six, including Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay who are now very much part of the senior squad.

So Ole is certainly bearing up to any comparison and doing much to promote the club's talented youth products and the ripple effect can be felt throughout the club with those in lower-age groups seeing a clear pathway into the first team and recognising opportunities will arise on the biggest stage.

As we approach a big game, the Europa League final on Wednesday, there is sure to be plenty of Academy representation in the travelling squad. The future looks bright for Manchester United.