Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was already thinking like a manager during his playing career, as an extract from Sir Alex Ferguson’s book reveals.
On Boxing Day, United legend Ryan Giggs revealed how the Norwegian would study the greatest manager in Premier League history late on his career.
“He’s gradually got more experience and when he had that injury and time out he used to take notes of things Sir Alex [Ferguson] would do so I believed he would do a good job and go in to coaching,” the Welshman told MUTV.
And Fergie himself saw a number of signs that Solskjaer was made for management, one being that his attention to detail was next level.
“In games, sitting on the bench, and in training sessions, he would make notes, always,” the 77-year old writes in Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography.
“So by the time he came on he had analysed who the opponents were, what positions they were assuming.
“He had those images all worked out. The game was laid out for him like a diagram and he knew where to go and when.”
Solskjaer has since instilled the ethics and playing style of Ferguson on his United team, winning 10 games out of 11 in all competitions.
The Solskjaer/Ferguson partnership has been a match made in heaven, but this mutual respect has been very apparent for years.
Back in August 2008, he spoke about his manager in an emotional speech after a testimonial match against Espanyol. Solskjaer holds back tears as he speaks about the man who helped develop his career.
It’s an incredible watch, considering how far the former Molde striker has come in such a short space of time as a manager.
Solskjaer has created a relaxed and positive atmosphere around United and is that much of a top bloke that he has told staff to stop calling him ‘boss’.
Polite employees at United felt the need to address him properly after he took the reins at Old Trafford on a caretaker basis.
But having known the same people from when he was a player and then reserve team manager at the club, he finds it uncomfortable and promptly brought it to a halt.
“It’s all about the values in a family – that you care about each other, support each other and of course know each other,” Solskjaer said in a forum with Scandinavian supporters’ club United-Supporteren.
“[Carrington receptionist] Kath was the first person I saw when I came here.
“Then I met the staff who’ve been here since I was a player. They started calling me ‘boss.’ I told them: ‘Stop that. My name is Ole. Call me Ole’.
“We’ve worked together and known each other for so many years. I didn’t want them to call me boss.
“We have to protect the core values in a football club: the relationship between the coach and the players, and the relationship between everyone who works at Carrington.”