He is the goal-scoring legend of the Treble Triumph, a local hero in Manchester and back home in Norway. But when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was announced in December 2018 as interim Manchester United manager, his only Premier League experience was overseeing Cardiff City’s relegation. After a dismal time following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, could he really be the one to see the club challenge again for major honours?
It all started so well – a record-breaking run of victories, Solskjaer seemingly the antidote to the confusion of Moyes, the stagnation of Van Gaal, the trauma of Mourinho, and the permanent job was secured. Then old frailties re-emerged, form dipped alarmingly and the scale of the task confronting him became obvious.
His first full season in charge was a bumpy ride, but Solskjaer steered the club to three semi-finals and a creditable third-place finish. He has reinvigorated players like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, given opportunities to newcomers such as MasonGreenwood, and brought in fresh talent in the shape of Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire. Champions League football beckons.
In The Red Apprentice, Jamie Jackson takes the reader back to Solskjaer’s early days in Norway to discover the making of the man. He relives his extraordinary playing career and that goal, exploring his move into coaching and seeks an answer to the vital question: can he do it? Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer draw on his experience and knowledge of the United way and bring the club its 21st league title?
Jamie Jackson has been the Manchester football correspondent for the Guardian and the Observer since 2012, ensuring him unrivalled access to Manchester United. He is the author of one previous football book, A Season in the Red, published in 2015.
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