Opportunity and timing is everything in football.
Laying out the perfect career pathway only seems feasible on paper, as the unexpected can occur at any turn. As we have learnt from the modern game, the unpredictable has almost become the norm, particularly when it comes to managerial changes.
This has become the case for Manchester United during the post Sir-Alex Ferguson era, and eyebrows were certainly raised when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins in December 2018.
It was certainly a cultural shift, and a story that many struggled to succumb to – the ex-Molde and Cardiff City manager taking over from the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho.
Fast forward nearly two years and the Norwegian still sits in the Old Trafford hot-seat, posing the question of was this actually fate? The former fan favourite and player coming back to potentially take the club back to its glory days – it certainly is a poetic narrative.
It remains to be seen whether Solskjaer is that man, but one thing we have learnt during his tenure is that he will give it a damn pretty good go.
The manager’s beginnings were discussed in the JGI Podcast, where the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson gave an insight into where the Norwegian’s managerial roots stemmed from.
He revealed that Solskjaer has always been an intuitive figure: “I think he’s always been keen to learn. As a young player, kid player [9-10], I spoke to coaches at that stage of his life and they were saying at the age he was quite analytical. He’s always had this learning thing.”
When asked whether the ‘Baby faced assassin’ was always destined to go down the managerial route, Jackson stated that his pathway was somewhat forced.
He continued to say: “I don’t think he really wanted to be a manager until he got his bad injury. It basically cost him the late years of his career. I think then it was like a moment where he thought I love this game so much.
During that time he spent so much time on the sidelines, he was soaking up what [Sir Alex] Ferguson was doing.”
utdreport’s Josh GI asked whether Ferguson played an influential role in Solskjaer’s decision to go into coaching. Jackson replied: “Absolutely massive, but it would have meant nothing – because Ferguson had hundreds of players through his squads and team – if we wasn’t able to harness that and use that in an intelligent way.
“I think Ferguson himself probably recognised that this guy is intelligent, he would take notes on the training ground when he was a player, he would stay behind all the time practicing on his own game and coaching sessions.”
Solskjaer has clearly always possessed a desire to learn and improve, a mindset he adopts every day as United manager. He still has a long way to go in proving himself at the top level, but he will ensure to give everything in his power, to make this club successful once more.