It has been less than a month since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, and while the Norwegian is adamant there is plenty more to come from his side, an unbeaten start to his tenure is testament to the impact he has had on his squad.
Sceptics will be quick to point out that Solskjaer’s five-match unbeaten run came amid some favourable fixtures – Reading, Huddersfield and Cardiff among them – but Solskjaer’s free-scoring United have fans on the edge of their seats once again, having smashed in 16 goals.
But what might be more refreshing to fans of Manchester United is the faith Solskjaer appears to have placed in youth.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has enjoyed a perfect start to life as Manchester United manager
He also has a wealth of young talent at his disposal – Sportsmail looks at each of them in detail
A photo from Wednesday’s training camp in Dubai showed youngsters Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and James Garner were all included in the trip to the Middle East.
Solskjaer made his name in a team which was full of youth, blooded by then manager Sir Alex Ferguson and it appears he is seeking more inspiration from his former boss.
With a tough run of fixtures coming up over the next two months, Sportsmail looks at the talented youngsters waiting in the wings to take their chance…
Nationality : English
Position: Attacking midfield
Gomes joined the Manchester United academy at the age of 13. The godson of former United wing Nani, he was involved in England’s Under-17 World Cup victory and made his senior United debut in the Premier League against Crystal Palace in May 2018.
This season, his sole appearance came in the Boxing Day win against Huddersfield, in which he played just nine minutes, but he has featured in Champions League and Premier League match-day squads.
A fleet-footed No 10, Gomes was poised for a January loan to allow him to find regular first-team football. But that move was blocked by Solskjaer, who is clearly keen to further Gomes’s first-team involvement.
Angel Gomes is a fleet-footed playmaker and is on the cusp of gaining regular senior football
Nationality : English
Position: Centre forward
Greenwood grabbed the headlines in December when he scored a hat-trick for the United Under-18s as they beat Chelsea 4-3 in the FA Youth Cup third round.
Having signed a professional in contract in October 2018, he was included in the squad for United’s Champions League trip to Valencia in December. He scored 16 goals in 17 games for the club’s title-winning Under-18s last season.
But with Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford in fine form, and Alexis Sanchez desperate for game time, senior appearances in the short-term may be in short supply for this two-footed teenager.
Mason Greenwood a much-lauded player in the academy, but United are well-stocked up front
Nationality : English
Position: Defensive Midfield
After signing his first professional contract in May, Garner has been named on the bench in FA Cup and Champions League fixtures this season.
Like Greenwood, Garner was part of the youth team which was crowned Premier League North champions last season.
He has represented England Under-17 and Under-18 level, captaining the latter on four occasions in 2018.
Garner has said his idol is Michael Carrick, who now works on Solskjaer’s coaching staff. Considering United’s struggles without the ball this season, it could take a player of Carrick’s qualities to provide much-needed defensive assistance.
James Garner has said his idol is Michael Carrick, which could add some steel to the midfield
Position: Right wing
Dutchman Chong’s distinctive shaggy hair means that he is already easily-recognisable among the Old Trafford regulars.
Having arrived at United in the summer of 2016, he missed much of his debut season with a serious knee injury.
But after impressing on United’s pre-season tour to the USA and in this season’s reserves campaign, he was promoted to the first-team bench for their Champions League match against Juventus, before making an impressive first-team debut in the FA Cup win against Reading.
Chong is left-footed but – mirroring his fellow countryman Arjen Robben – plays on the right-wing.
Although United are well-stocked in the attacking berths, Chong’s promise could make him the frontrunner from the rookies to push his way into first-team contention.
Tahith Chong impressed against Reading last week and could conceivably make the step up
Position: Left midfield
Barlow has been involved with United since he was six years old. After progressing to Under-18 level scored 18 goals and provided seven assists in 33 games.
He signed his first professional contract at the club in December 2017. Hailing from Salford, Barlow made his England Under-18 debut against South Africa in September 2018 and played at the 2017 European Under-17 Championship.
He broke into the Manchester United Under-23s in January 2018 aged just 18 and his precocious talent and impressive track record mean he might not just be one for United’s future, but for now too.
Aidan Barlow is just 19 but is already developing a reputation as a burgeoning talent at United
Position: Centre back
O’Connor joined United in the summer of 2016 and was shortlisted for the youth team Player of the Year award last season.
He shares his place of birth with former club stalwart John O’Shea and, after captaining his native Ireland at Under-19 level, his strong form for United’s Under-23s resulted in a call-up to Martin O’Neil’s squad for the Republic of Ireland’s Nations League game against Denmark in November 2017.
Although his wait for a senior international and club appearance continues, he is known as a clever defender with superb technical attributes who is not afraid to get forward – he scored a superb counterattack goal for United’s Under-19s in 2017.
If Solskjaer believes he will not be hindered by his inexperience, then upcoming FA Cup ties might be the perfect opportunity to test whether O’Connor has the ability to shore up United’s defence.
Lee O’Conner, 18, is already on the radar of the Republic of Ireland and has huge potential
Position: Attacking midfielder
Described in his United biography as ‘a talented midfield playmaker with a real eye for a pass’, Gribbin has been involved with the United academy since the age of nine.
Although he is known for his quality on the ball, he has developed a reputation for being a free-kick whizz.
He made seven appearances for England Under-16s while aged just 14, but has struggled in the last few years to make the breakthrough to United’s senior squad.
He signed a four-year deal with United in 2015 and, unless there is a significant increase in game time under Solskjaer, or even in Nicky Butt’s reserves, he may well seek regular first-team football elsewhere when his contract expires.
Callum Gribbin has fallen slightly off the radar since making a big impression a few years ago