Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hand promising striker Mason Greenwood a chance to lead a Manchester United youth revolution in the Europa League on Thursday.
United manager Solskjaer believes Greenwood is one of the best finishers he has ever seen and he will give the 17-year-old his opportunity to shine when Astana visit at Old Trafford.
Greenwood has made four substitute appearances this season, but Solskjaer told reporters on Wednesday that the English teenager would start against the Kazakhstan champions.
“He is still very young, Mason, but he’s maturing,” Solskjaer said. “He’s developed so much in the last six months since I came in.
“I remember the kid who just wanted to play with mates in the Under-18s. And now he’s knocking on a door, he’s ready to play these games.
“For me, he has been in the Under-21s with England, he’s tasting it more and more. And his appetite for football must be growing.
“I just don’t want to put too much pressure on him, apart from go out there and enjoy yourself.
“I know he’ll make the right finish. The keeper might make a fantastic save but he’s one of the best finishers I’ve seen.
“It’s just that enjoyment, express yourself, go out at Old Trafford because there’ll be 11 Astana players living the dream tomorrow.”
Solskjaer intends to change tack as his side embark on their Europa League journey as the manager focuses on the youth at his disposal.
He confirmed academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe, 21, will be in the line-up against Astana, 28 months since last starting a match for United at Old Trafford.
A knock sees Daniel James join Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw on the sidelines, with Fred coming into midfield and back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero getting the nod ahead of David De Gea.
“It’s a process and for these, we trust them. It’s for them to grow as players but also human beings - that responsibility of being robust enough to go out at Old Trafford,” Solskjaer said.
“It’s not just about enjoying yourself because you’ve got to get results.
“And if you don’t throw them in you don’t know what you’ve got so, for me, I don’t see this as any other way of doing this because I’ve always done this wherever I’ve been.
“I’ve not been too many places but that’s my belief as a coach that you have to give them a chance, an opportunity.
“Especially forward players. They’ll win you games. Defenders it’s a shift, find a way to win a game and keep them out.”
Lindelof extends Man Utd deal to 2024
Manchester United tied down defender Victor Lindelof to a new five-year deal on Wednesday.
“Victor Lindelof has signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until at least June 2024. There is an option to extend for a further year,” United said in a statement.
The Swedish international has established himself as a regular under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the past 10 months after a difficult first season following a £31 million ($39 million) move from Benfica in 2017.
“Since the day I arrived at United, it has felt like home,” said Lindelof.
“I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support.
“I love playing football and my aim now is to help the team to win trophies and repay the fans for their unrivalled support.”
Lindelof has made 74 appearances for the Red Devils, but is yet to win any silverware.
However, having started as Harry Maguire’s partner at the heart of the United defence in all five Premier League games so far this season, he is confident of getting United back to competing for trophies.
“I know that everyone at the club shares this vision and will give everything to get Manchester United back to where it belongs,” added Lindelof.
“I’m still young and know I can improve further but with the help of the boss and his coaching staff, I believe that only good things are ahead for this great club.”