OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER will gamble his Old Trafford future on the next golden generation of wonder kids.
Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka may have been big-money summer signings to strengthen a fragile Manchester United backline.
But there have been no marquee midfield or attacking arrivals because Solskjaer wants to open the door to a crop of rising stars.
It has been the United way ever since the Busby Babes of the 1950s, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous Class of ‘92.
Young guns likes Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira have already been given a crack in the first team and both shone again pre-season.
But rookies like new-boy Dan James, Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong will all have big parts to play this season.
For a club of United’s standing it is clearly a risk and about-turn on recent years, which have seen huge money spent on glamour signings.
Men like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Memphis Depay, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku all cost mega fees, yet failed to live up to their billing.
But Solskjaer would sooner lay foundations for the long-term — even though it could have a serious impact on his own future if it goes wrong.
He insisted: “You can call it a gamble. I am just staying true to what I believe in.
“It is not just about me getting results to improve my reputation.
“I believe in this way of managing. It is about the club going forward in the right direction, that has always been the case.
“If we don’t make these decisions now, they’ll have to be done in 12 months or 18 months or 24 months, because at some point these kids have to be a part of Man United.”
Behind the scenes, there is growing belief United are back on track after the chaos and confrontation of Jose Mourinho’s reign.
A new deal for Marcus Rashford, the belief David De Gea will sign one shortly, and the total conviction Paul Pogba is staying have all raised confidence ahead of today’s opener.
Ironically, that start comes against a Chelsea side who have regularly splashed millions, but now have to follow the same path due to their transfer embargo.
While Frank Lampard’s abstinence in the market has been forced, Solskjaer is convinced it is the way to go.
And he reckons you will see the first shoots of the long road back to becoming serious challengers at Old Trafford this afternoon.
He added: “We decided giving our kids the best chance is the right way. They have impressed.
“That is why they went on tour and that is why we have given them so many minutes, although it is not fair on them to be regulars.
“Of course we have experienced players, but they will come in and give us something extra.
“I’d like to think you will see what kind of team we want to be and the intensity we want.
“We have had six weeks but it’s not going to be functioning perfectly straight away.
“But pre-season was really good, the squad’s been good and the performances really promising.
“We have added Harry, so hopefully you should see the signs of the team I’d want to be in, say, 12 months. But it is step-by-step and we’ve made good strides.
“We haven’t challenged properly for six years so, of course, it’s not where we want to be.
“But I feel we are on the right track and feel we have a better squad, team and foundation.
“Let’s make sure now that we surprise a few people.”
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