Ahead of the upcoming clash between Manchester United and Cardiff City, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he will give previously unknown players a chance to represent the club.
The Sunday game against Neil Warmock’s Bluebirds will be one of Premier League’s last matches for the 2018/19 season.
Solskjaer isn’t sure that Captain Antonio Valencia will play against the visitors due to his fitness level—a situation which may deny him [Valencia] the chance to make a farewell appearance. His contract ends in the summer transfer window.
However, the Norwegian coach has revealed plans to test some young players with first-team action. Some of the lucky youngsters are Mason Greenwood, Dylan Levitt, Angel Gomes, James Graner, Arnau Puigmal and Tahith Chong, who trained with the senior team on Thursday.
Speaking with high expectations from his “surprise” line-up against Cardiff City, Solskjaer said some of the new boys will certainly play alongside their idols. He, however, refused to talk about the upcoming transfer window and United’s plan to sell, buy or swap players.
‘Nothing is ever certain in football,’ Solskjaer said. ‘It’s hard—in most cases—to tell which match will be your last or which one will provide a stepping stone to another player’s career.’
He continued, ‘United has many young, fit and motivated players waiting for their chance all season…Some of those who trained with us on Thursday may get a green.’
Chong played against Huddersfield last weekend—as a substitute—and Greenwood has been certified fit to play after sustaining an injury which ruled him out of the 1-1 draw.
Captain Valencia, who hasn’t tested first-team action since 2 January, is back in training and motivated to prove his worth.
‘I had a conversation with Valencia yesterday and he admitted struggling to regain fitness,’ United manager said, adding that it’s rather unfortunate that his captain hasn’t played since the 5 or 6 months he was appointed Caretaker Manager.
He continued, ‘Valencia feels he has an obligation to play a part in the Cardiff game and I look forward to seeing him go through with the training process so we could give him a nice after-match party…He has been loyal, dedicated and fantastic at Old Trafford.
‘He [Valencia] means lots of things to people—a captain, Player of the Year and a motivator—which explain why it’s only fair that we celebrate him with loud ovation and a nice send off.’
Luis Antonio Valencia is a 33-year-old Ecuadorian footballer. He plays as a winger and captain for both Manchester United and his national team.