Nicky Butt has been impressed by the impact made at Manchester United by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and hopes his former team-mate is in charge for a “long, long time”.
With the side struggling under Jose Mourinho, the Old Trafford giants acted and brought in the 1999 treble hero as caretaker manager for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
Solskjaer has enjoyed a record-breaking start to life in the hot seat, overseeing victories in his first seven matches in all competitions as United closed the gap on the Premier League top four.
Butt knows the Norwegian well from their playing days and has been impressed by his work behind the scenes in his role as head of the club’s academy.
“He’s come in and, Ole being Ole, he has brought a smile with him,” Butt said.
“He knows the club, which is massively important for me, and what he’s done is come here and just said to everybody ‘go and enjoy playing for Man United, go and be the luckiest boys on the planet to go and play on that pitch’.
“He felt like that when he was a player and he’s trying to introduce that to the players now and it’s worked.
“But he’s also got a little bit of a ruthless streak. I don’t think you can be as successful as Ole Gunnar if you’ve not got that.
“He had a dream to become a football manager after his playing career and he worked hard at it. He went back home to work coaching there, he had his time with Cardiff and he’s gone back to Norway again.
“This opportunity has come and I know he’s delighted to have that. I spoke to him on many occasions and I also know that he’s going to take it with both hands and try and grab hold of that for as long as he can and hopefully it’ll be a long, long time.”
Solskjaer’s deep understanding of United has shaped his work over the last month, meaning more young talent is getting the chance to be around the first team.
Tahith Chong made his debut against Reading in the FA Cup and 18-year-old Angel Gomes has been involved, while 17-year-olds James Garner and Mason Greenwood have been around the camp.
Butt, who coaches United’s Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League, was preparing to loan out some of those players, but Solskjaer’s arrival has led to a rethink.
“Plans change,” the head of academy said at the announcement that David Beckham was joining him and the other ‘Class of 92’ members in taking a 10 per cent stake in Salford City.
“A new manager comes in and he has a say. I think he’s got a massive say in what happens.
“What we had previously was we had plans to get two or three of them out on loan because there wasn’t looking like to be a chance for them to go up.
“So, the natural thing is not to sit about playing reserves team football for too long – go out on loan and experience men’s football.
“The dynamics have changed now because the two or three lads that were going to go out on loan are now being involved in the training camps, involved in training, on the bench, in the squad.
“The dynamics have totally changed, so it’s now another conversation with the boys, their parents and the agents and seeing what is best for them lads.
“It might be stay around now and take your chance if it is given. It’s all good for me saying ‘go out and do men’s football’ but you’ve got to look at Marcus Rashford. He had one chance of sitting on the bench and he becomes a superstar from taking that chance. It’s a really tricky one now so more discussions.”