Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that he intends to let more Manchester United youngsters go out on loan before the start of the new campaign.
With United’s first pre-season fixtures on the horizon – they face Derby County on Sunday for starters – Solskjaer is currently working with a limited squad as the Red Devils who took part in Euro 2020 rest and recover in the aftermath of the tournament.
That has seen a handful of academy players join in with the first team’s initial preparations. As more senior players return and pre-season draws to a close, however, Solskjaer will consider sanctioning temporary moves for youngsters who aren’t part of his plans for the season.
Solskjaer has already allowed Tahith Chong, Nathan Bishop and Reece Devine to agree loan deals with other clubs. They will spend next season at Birmingham City, Mansfield Town and St Johnstone respectively.
In an interview with the club website, Solskjaer explained the rationale behind United’s pre-season programme. “We’ve got six weeks together before the league starts and a couple of training camps here in the UK,” he said.
“It’s the most sensible thing, we felt, being in and around here. You don’t get the, how do you say, aggravation of: ‘Are we green, red or amber [in terms of travel restrictions]?’ It’s just the way the world works at the moment.
“The young kids will definitely be part of the Derby game and then we’ve got another couple of games coming up and they can be part of it.”
Ahead of United’s Premier League opener against Leeds on August 14, however, Solskjaer expects further departures. “Gradually, more and more players from the Euros will join in,” he added.
“[The youngsters] will get a taste of some football. Then roundabouts early August, some will go on loan. We’ve already lined up a few and some of them are still in discussions between us and the players about where is the best place to go.”
Despite United’s high-profile absentees and the ongoing constraints of the coronavirus pandemic, Solskjaer has stressed that the next few weeks could be a formative period for United’s youngsters. “Pre-season is always a fresh start, a new start with new opportunities to look forward to the season,” he said.
“Some of the players have just started their holiday, so we know it’s a depleted squad, but it gives the young kids a taste of what it is like to have a proper pre-season with top professionals like Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata in the first team, Lee Grant, [plus] Tom Heaton is back.
“They’ve done it so many times. Mason [Greenwood], Aaron [Wan-Bissaka], Axel [Tuanzebe] are first-team players who will bring these boys along and it’s a good opportunity for them.”
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