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Ole G. Solskjær: Who is Man Utd's interim manager?

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: Who is Manchester United's interim manager?

December 19, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The former Manchester United forward as been named as the caretaker manager following Jose Mourinho's exit. But, who is he?


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was born on February 26, 1973, in Kristiansund, a city in the Norwegian county of Møre og Romsda. After completing a year of national service in the Norwegian army, he began his professional football career at the age of 17 at Clausenengen in Norway's third division league.

Playing career

Solskjaer brought a five-year spell at Clausenengen to an end by joining top-flight outfit Molde in 1995. There, the forward scored 40 goals in 50 appearances in just two years, attracting interest from the likes of Hamburger SV, Cagliari, Everton, and the two Manchester clubs.

However, he was snapped up by Manchester United after both Everton and City refused to match his £1.2 million valuation. The Red Devils paid Molde £1.5 million to secure the service of Solskjaer in the summer of 1996.

At United, he made waves in the English Premier League by scoring just six minutes into his debut, coming into the game against Blackburn Rovers as a substitute. Having initially been tipped as the back-up to Eric Cantona and Andy Cole, Solskjaer will go on to establish himself as an integral member of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad between 1996 and 2007.

Despite frequent injuries hampering his playing chances, the "Baby-faced Assassin" ended his Manchester United career with 126 goals from 366 appearances across all competitions. Solskjaer secured his legendary status at Manchester United by scoring the stoppage time winning goal against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Final of 1999's treble-winning season.

He officially hanged his boot on August 27, 2007, and a testimonial match was held in his honor in the subsequent year against Espanyol at Old Trafford. On the international front, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored 23 goals in 67 caps for the Norwegian national team.

Coaching career

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer began his managerial career as the full-time manager of Manchester United's Reserve team in 2008. After turning down the opportunity to coach Norway, he penned a four-year contract to manage Norwegian club Molde in 2011. He won the Tippeligaen in the same year with the club and added another in 2012. He added the Norwegian Football Cup to his honors in 2013 after losing the league title to Strømsgodset.

In January 2014, he left Molde and joined Cardiff City but left the Premier League club in September after it was relegated to the Championship and had to endure a tough start in English football's second tier. He returned to Molde in 2015 and was the club's manager until his appointment as caretaker manager of Manchester United on December 19, 2018.

What fans can expect from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's credentials have come under scrutiny following the announcement of his appointment as interim manager of Manchester United. The 45-year-old manager averaged a win ratio of 55.2 percent in 125 games during his first spell as the head coach of Molde.

However, the tables turned against him at Cardiff where he managed a win percentage of 30 in 30 matches. His second spell at Molde which spans between 2015 and 2018 served up a win percentage of 55.9 in games.

Evidently, a daunting task lies ahead for the "Baby-faced Assassin" as he comes in without any prior experience of managing a top side. However, he is one perceived to embody certain traits that the last three managers post-Sir. Alex Ferguson lacked.

For some seasons now, the Red Devils are believed to have been on the lookout for a manager who has the knack to get the most out of the club's big-money signings, create an identifiable style, while simultaneously developing the young players. In addition, the individual must be familiar with the club's philosophy, culture and core values and must also have the potential to create a positive atmosphere with both the players and staff.

While Solskjaer is yet to prove that he has got any of these attributes, he highlighted his eagerness to work with the personnel at his disposal in his first interview at the club.

"Manchester United is in my heart and it's brilliant to be coming back in this role," he declared. I'm really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club."

Solskjaer first test as interim manager is against Cardiff City – a club that defined his first-ever managerial career in English football.

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