Some Manchester United legends expected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to go on to become a successful manager as early as 2007.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was worried about letting Sir Alex Ferguson know of his decision to hang up his boots in 2007 but the legendary Man United manager responded by asking the Norwegian to take up a coaching role at the club.
Solskjaer, who scored some unforgettable goals for the Red Devils, was drafted in to coach the forwards and with Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney plying their trade at Old Trafford at the time, there was no shortage of sponges willing to soak up Solskjaer’s knowledge.
Recalling how Ferguson reacted to his retirement announcement, Solskjaer told the UTD Podcast that the Scot said, “Well don’t worry son, you’ve had a fantastic career, your family must be so proud, your last season was fantastic. Why don’t you coach my forwards? Go home for a few weeks and come back when you’re ready.”
Solskjaer continued: “I went away for three weeks, came back and he integrated me into the first-team set-up and I coached Cristiano [Ronaldo], Wazza [Wayne Rooney], [Carlos] Tevez was there.
“So whenever Cristiano or Wayne scored through the defender’s legs, I nudged [son] Noah and say: ‘Your dad taught them that.'”
Before taking over a role managing the United reserves, Solskjaer coached United’s forwards and Norwegian station TV2 visited Carrington to get a feel for how he was getting on in his new position.
Old report from norwegian TV2:
Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand on OGS as a coach when he was in Sir Alex’s coaching staff for a brief period pic.twitter.com/ElhCpu2V3i
— . (@PogBaller_) December 18, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals for United in the 2007/08 season, was full of praise for the Norwegian.
“He’s very good,” Ronaldo said. “I look at Ole as a man, not just as a coach. He’s a fantastic guy and I have a great relationship with him.”
Wayne Rooney, who was well on his way to becoming United’s top goalscorer of all time, enjoyed working with Solskjaer and backed him to become a top manager.
Rooney said: “I’m sure he’ll one day become a manager and become a good one.”
As a defender, Rio Ferdinand had little to learn from Solskajer and he issued a light-hearted response when asked how Solskjaer was respected by the United squad at the time before echoing Rooney’s expectation that he’d go on to become a successful coach.
“We don’t like him, we think he’s a bad guy and he can’t coach,” Ferdinand joked. “No, he’s a good guy. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fantastic ambassador for football.
“I’m sure he’ll go on to become a top coach because he’s got great ideas about the game and he’s working really hard at Carrington.”