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Solskjaer advises Lukaku & Man Utd substitutes: Being on the bench can change your life!

16:12 GMT 29/01/2019
Romelu Lukaku Ole Gunna Solskjaer Manchester United 2018-19
An interim boss at Old Trafford knows all about the benefits of being a player who may not start every game but is capable of making an impact

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told the likes of Romelu Lukaku that being a substitute at Manchester United is no bad thing, as bench duty “can change your life”.

The Norwegian is well placed to comment on the role of an impact player.

He was often overlooked for starting duty during a spell at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson, but still took in 366 appearances and forged a reputation as a Red Devils legend.

Solskjaer managed 136 goals for United, including an iconic Champions League winner which completed a Treble triumph in 1999, and never argued against what was asked of him.

He is now looking for those on the fringes of his plans to adopt a similar stance, with Lukaku one of several stars currently short on game time as other options are favoured.

Quizzed by United’s official website on whether he sympathises with the decisions Ferguson had to make when having the likes of Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Dwight Yorke to select from, Solskjaer said: “Yes, of course.

“There were so many times in his team talks when you could see that he didn’t enjoy leaving players out but that’s just the name of the game and you’ve got to be decisive – make decisions and stick with them.

“Of course, for the players who don’t start, you have to come on and make an impact as I’ve learnt quite often because it can change your life.”

It is not just in attacking berths that Solskjaer faces selection dilemmas.

United’s star-studded squad also includes a number of international performers looking to operate across midfield, with Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic currently the preferred choices.

“When you pick a team, you look for balance in a team,” added Solskjaer.

“It’s not just the midfielders or forwards or the defenders, you look at the whole team.

“But of course, those three midfielders – Paul, Nemanja and Ander – have done really well.

“But then we’ve got Fred, Andreas [Pereira] and Scott [McTominay]. Felli [Marouane Fellaini] is out injured now but we’ve got loads of players who can fit into that.

“At the moment, those three have done really well.”

Solskjaer will need to decide whether to stick with a settled side or shuffle his pack again when United return to Premier League action on Tuesday evening at home to Burnley.