Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed to give his young players a chance in the Premier League.
United saw off Astana 1-0 in the Europa League on Thursday thanks to 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s goal in a game which also saw starts for Tahith Chong (19) and Axel Tuanzebe (21).
In an interview on Soccer Saturday, Solskjaer revealed that the Europa League is the perfect competition to see if his youngsters are good enough to make the step up to the Premier League.
However, the United boss insisted that their introduction to life on the big stage must be careful – especially with the rise of social media – and that the club are offering plenty of background support behind the scenes.
“You learn quite a lot when playing the youngsters,” he said. “You want them to go out and express themselves, to go out and perform so that have a platform to build on. I thought it paid off (against Astana).
“I understand that some of the boys, sometimes they can feel the heat, but I thought they were excellent. Of course we must protect them, find the right moment to put them in. Give them guidance behind closed doors.
“Social media and the media these days is so different. We will try to help and guide them as much as we can. We know the other side of how it was back in the 70s and 80s, it is different now. We have a lot of background support here.
“They’re almost ready (to play in the Premier League). That’s why they’re with us, why they’re training with us and they have done well in training.
“The young boys now – you will see them enough. You will see them in the Europa League, the FA Cup the Carabao Cup and maybe a little bit in the Premier League.
“If we do well in the Europa League we have a chance to win it. In the early stages you can take a few chances, take a few risks, make some subs and give the youngsters a chance.
“I think it’s about time they had some exposure, and see if they are ready to play in the Premier League.”