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Manchester United

Matic is vital with all the kids Manchester United have running around, says manager Solskjaer

13:35 BST 09/07/2020
Nemanja Matic Manchester United
The Red Devils boss is delighted to have seen the Serbian midfielder, who offers experience and leadership at Old Trafford, commit to a new contract

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has talked up the importance of Nemanja Vidic signing a new contract at Manchester United “with all the kids we’ve got running around”.

The Red Devils have once again looked to youth for inspiration in 2019-20. A club that was once infamously told that “you won’t win anything with kids” remain convinced that providing a platform for stars of the future to thrive on will pay long-term dividends.

The Class of ’92 proved that to be correct, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood now following in illustrious footsteps. United have also invested in the potential of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, while Scott McTominay and Brandon Williams are other academy graduates seeing plenty of game time.

Potential is being complemented within the Red Devils’ ranks by experience, with two-time Premier League title winner Matic the latest to commit to a new contract at 31 years of age.

Solskjaer has welcomed that deal, telling the club’s official website: “I’m delighted that Nemanja wants to stay here. He’s really shown over the years he’s been here how important he is for us and of course his experience, he’s a Premier League winner.

“We need some experience as well with all the kids we’ve got running around! So I’m very, very happy that we could sort that out.”

Another of the home-grown stars that United have high hopes for is 22-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe. He made five appearances early on in the 2019-20 campaign, having impressed on loan at Aston Villa last season, but is currently nursing a hamstring injury that could keep him out until September.

Solskjaer said of the promising centre-half: “He had a good start to the season then it’s been stop-start [for him]. He was really eager to come back really fit and gradually things got worse and worse and he had to take the big step and sit out for a little while.”

Victor Lindelof is another defensive option who has picked up a knock, with the Sweden international forced off at half-time in a 5-2 victory over Bournemouth, but Solskjaer is not expecting him to be out for long.

He has said of the 25-year-old: “It’s not too bad. He’ll play soon. I’m not sure if he’ll manage the Villa game, but he might do.”

Top four-chasing United are set to take in a trip to relegation-threatened Villa on Thursday.