Manchester United‘s third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant has revealed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s finishing skills remain just as deadly as they were in his playing days – enough to give the shot-stopper a thorough workout alongside Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba.
Solskjaer played for United from 1996 to 2007, scoring 91 goals in 235 appearances, including, most famously, the winning goal as a substitute in the 1999 Champions League final. His was the second of two injury-time strikes that saw United overturn a 1-0 deficit against Bayern Munich in the dying minutes to seal an unprecedented treble, having already won the Premier League and FA Cup that season.
That moment etched Solskjaer’s name into the club’s history, and when he returned in December to take over as interim manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, it was a widely popular appointment.
The club legend oversaw a run of 11 wins in his first 14 games before a disastrous end to the season in which United won just two of their final 12 fixtures, but Grant said that amidst Solskjaer’s up-and-down start to life in charge, his appetite to be involved in training remained the same.
“We had a shooting session and I was doing some one-on-one work with Romelu and Paul,” Grant told United’s official website.
“The manager came over and I could see he was limbering up in the corner of my eye.
“He got involved and he was still pretty deadly, I have to be honest.
“He had some bad luck because he kept hitting the same post in the same spot. But the touch was there and the instinct was still there.”
Solskjaer will don the jersey in which he became famous one more time this weekend, as the former Norway striker will play in a United Legends side that will take on a Bayern Legends side at Old Trafford on Sunday, the 20-year anniversary of the treble triumph. And Grant says fans can expect a vintage display from the club’s current manager.
“He is very, very clinical still,” said Grant. “He did well and I am looking forward to seeing that game on Sunday.”
Grant, who joined from Stoke City last summer, is a lifelong United fan, and says he was thrilled by the opportunity to work under the club icon, who previously managed United’s reserves side.
“I hadn’t worked under Ole before, because I wasn’t around at the club when he was previously here, either coaching younger guys or working with the first team as a striker coach.
“This was a chance to meet one of my heroes and it was an interesting moment.
“It was slightly strange but very quickly you forget all of that and think, ‘he’s the boss’. You play it cool.”