England manager Gareth Southgate is reportedly under consideration for the Manchester United job.
The bookmakers’ favourites to replace Jose Mourinho go head to head at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, when Red Devils caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes on front-runner Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham.
But Southgate dominated talk ahead of the Premier League encounter after the Sunday Telegraph reported that United are considering an approach for the Three Lions boss due to increasing concerns that Pochettino will stay put.
Press Association Sport understands no one has been ruled in or out at this stage as the club assesses their options ahead of naming Mourinho’s permanent successor in the summer.
Pochettino is the favourite, and believed to be interested in the job, but for now United are continuing their extensive and thorough managerial search.
The 48-year-old led the country to the World Cup semi-finals for just the third time, before sealing the Three Lions’ place at the inaugural Nations League finals.
Southgate has also impressed in his stint in charge of the England Under-21s, but his only previous job in club management was at Middlesbrough – a three-year spell that included relegation in 2009.
Asked last month by Sky Sports how hard it would be to turn down a big club job, the England manager said: “At the moment that’s very easy because I don’t have anything to consider.
“So, we’ve just had our best year in about 28 years, we’re in another semi-final next summer and I signed a new contract three months ago.
“I’m incredibly proud to be the England manager and I have the opportunity to lead England into a European Championships, where so many of the matches are at Wembley. So, for me, it’s a very simple situation at the moment.”
Southgate is sure to be asked about the United job soon enough but may well remain silent, just as Tottenham boss Pochettino has until now.
Solskjaer, by contrast, has been explicit about his desire to stay on at the club he helped win the treble as a player in 1999.
The Norwegian has emulated Sir Matt Busby in winning his first five matches at the helm and is due to return to Molde in the summer.
Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri are others to linked with the manager’s job, while United are also working to bring in a head of football reporting to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Rashford has been deployed in his favoured centre forward role since Jose Mourinho made way for Solskjaer last month, duly rewarding the Norwegian with three goals in his last four starts.
The 21-year-old striker could once again be the focal attacking point at Tottenham on Sunday, where United will have to be on guard at the other end as Kane looks to get on the scoresheet for the seventh successive game.
Kane is widely recognised as one of the best strikers in the Premier League but Solskjaer sees no reason why academy graduate Rashford cannot eventually reach that level.
Speaking upon his return from United’s warm weather training camp in Dubai this week, Solskjaer said: “He can become a top, top striker.
“We can talk about Harry Kane and his class, I’m sure Marcus has got the potential to get up there.
“He’s got frightening pace, he’s now become stronger and can hold the ball up for us. He’s a great link player.
“He’s been brought up here and there were a couple of sessions (in Dubai) with the young kids, (Tahith) Chong, Angel (Gomes) and Jesse (Lingard), where they play together in a certain way. He’s a very exciting player to work with.”
Solskjaer has matched Sir Matt Busby’s record by winning his first five games at the helm of United, though the consensus is this weekend’s encounter represents his first significant test.
The former striker is in charge of United until the end of the season but his case to become the permanent successor to Mourinho will become all the more compelling if he gets the better of Mauricio Pochettino at Wembley.
Pochettino has been heavily linked with the Old Trafford post in recent weeks even though he last year signed a new deal to remain at Tottenham until 2023.
Solskjaer has accepted the speculation surrounding Pochettino – “because he has done well” – even though he knows little about the Argentinian’s management style.
He said: “I’ve only met him once myself. He was a very nice man to speak to and we had a nice chat.
“He’s probably a very good man manager, but you’ve got to ask someone else. From the outside, he looks like that anyway.
“He’s got good players, it’s the same with me. It’s easier to play an attacking way and your way when you’ve got good players, and he’s got lots of good players.”
Despite the positive start he has made to his reign, Solskjaer revealed he has had no further discussions about his situation with the United hierarchy.
He added: “No, we’ve not had that conversation. You don’t plan five or six months ahead and then suddenly, after two weeks, change that. No, nothing’s changed.
“We just keep working every single day on improving the team here. I work with a fantastic coaching staff, I have to say. We’ll put a plan together on how we want to look the next few months.”
Manchester United travel to Wembley Stadium to face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in a mouth-watering Premier League clash.
The Red Devils have been in scintillating form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named as the interim manager, winning all five of his matches in charge.
As for Spurs, they’ve won all three of their matches in 2019, scoring 11 goals and conceding none.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side currently sit in third place in the table.
Here’s how Solskjaer can win the tactical battle.
United need to get the ball into the wide areas as much as possible.
With the talent and pace at their disposal, they can stretch the back four.
Spurs fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to Wolves recently, with the visitors playing the ball out wide often, and it worked like a treat for them.
Of course, there are moments where United will want to keep the ball for a sustained period of time, but when Spurs give the ball away in the middle of the pitch, that’s when United have to attack them in numbers, just as they did for the second goal against Newcastle in their last league match.
The worst thing to do against this Spurs side is sit off them whilst they have the ball, because they will, eventually, pick their way through.
Toby Alderweireld loves to play a long diagonal pass to Kieran Trippier on the right wing, so the Red Devils need to make sure the Belgian doesn’t get the opportunity to do so.
United also need to ensure players like Christian Eriksen don’t get any time on the ball, even if it means assigning Herrera to man mark the Danish playmaker.
Solksjaer should utilise the energy levels of his front men and tell them to press with intensity and as a unit.
United must then break quickly when they win the ball back. Wolves did so to great effect.