Fantastic news!!!! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally made his comeback to the team after 19 months of being sidelined with a catalogue of injuries and constant hopes of recovery, only to be dashed time and time again. Finally, it seems that the knee surgery might have worked this time.
Solskjaer played the first half of the reserve team game at Hyde Unitedís ground against Liverpool yesterday (which we unfortunately lost!). He had a couple of shots on target and also made some tackles that would certainly have made manager SAF smile, if somewhat nervously! But the important thing is that he got through it unscathed. And this, after only last week SAF was saying that he was worried Solskjaer would never play again. Ole commented after the game that although he was taken off at half time, he felt he could have played the whole match:
“It’s a great feeling to be playing again after such a long time,” he said. “The plan was to play for 45 minutes, but I could have gone on for longer.”
Oleís last appearance was in May, 2004 during the FA Cup final victory over Millwall. He played just six minutes in that game.
His return could only mean a more strengthened Manchester United squad with the addition of such a versatile player- be it as a striker, or winger. The 3 “Rs“: Ruud, Ryan and Ronaldo, and of course Ji-Sung Park, Darren Fletcher and Kieron Richardson will now know that they need to be at their very best to keep their places- as both SAF and us supporters would love to see Ole have a run in the first team again before his career is over at MU. It is worth noting that his current contract expires at the end of this season.
Oleís return, while he is unlikely to threaten first team action for a while, will certainly raise the competition for places within the squad. Park‘s place is unlikely to be threatened for now, but who knows in a couple of months if Ole’s form continues to progress?
MU supporters hold a special place in their hearts for Ole, not just because of his unbelievable winning goal in the Champions League final in 1999, but also because of his long-term loyalty and patience as a substitute, when Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were stealing the limelight. During the recent takeover of MU by the Glazer family, Ole threatened to quit and set up a rival MU club!!
So a true Red indeed, even if a Nordic one!!