David Beckham believes fan power and the support of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson will help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer land the full-time job at Old Trafford and propel Manchester United to more glory.
Beckham and Solskjaer won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League crown during their time together at United, and the former England captain is delighted to see how well his friend has done since replacing Jose Mourinho as manager in December.
Speaking to reporters in Miami, where he is president of the city’s new Major Soccer League team, Beckham said the Norwegian’s success has not surprised him.
“Seeing Ole do so well, it’s obviously great to see, especially as a fan,” said Beckham.
“But, as a friend and a former team-mate, to see someone who knows and understands the club come in and do as well as he has done has been great.
“He’s just brought the players together, and the players have responded in the right way, the way the fans hoped.
“He’s obviously gained experience in Norway, and in that spell at Cardiff but now he’s come back and done what he’s done. It makes us former team-mates very proud.
“(But) I’m not surprised at all. We had great players, talent and infrastructure at the club – everything Manchester United is all about.”
Many fans had started to wonder about that during the final joyless months of Mourinho’s reign but Solskjaer has brought the smiles back.
Prior to Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Wolves, Solskjaer’s United had lost twice in 18 games – to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, avenging the latter in stunning fashion by winning the return leg to reach the last eight of the Champions League.
They will now meet Barcelona in the quarter-finals, which means the 46-year-old will return to the scene of his most famous moment in a United shirt where he scored the stoppage-time winner to beat Bayern Munich in the 1999 final of Europe’s elite competition.
It was confirmed last week that Beckham will play in a game to mark the 20th anniversary of that night at Old Trafford on May 26, when it is expected he will be joined by Solskjaer, and with Ferguson in the dugout.
Beckham, 43, helped to create that winning goal with a trademark dead-ball delivery and he thinks memories like that have been crucial to Solskjaer’s success.
“Ole gains that respect from the players because he had done it. He’d been there on the biggest stage and won,” he said.
“And he’s done it in a mature way, a way that is respected by not just younger people but older ones. Having the support of ‘The Boss’ has also helped him and given him confidence.”
Things have gone so well for Solskjaer it is easy to forget he is still officially only a temporary solution and is meant to be returning to his full-time job as Norwegian side Molde’s manager in May.
Asked if he thought there was any way that would be allowed to happen now, Beckham said: “That’s not down to me to decide but look at the fans.
“They’ve loved the time he has been the manager so far. They want that to continue.”