Michael Owen ‘can’t believe’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United selection decision

Michael Owen admits his surprise at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team selection decisions in Man United's 1-1 draw with Southampton

Michael Owen
Liverpool FC legend Michael Owen (Photo: BT Sport)

Michael Owen has admitted that he was left in disbelief by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selection for Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Solskjaer raised some eyebrows with his team selection on Saturday as he opted to start Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho on the bench for the Red Devils.

The Manchester United boss also left Jesse Lingard on the bench for the weekend’s Premier League clash, despite his recent good form for the Old Trafford outfit.

Lingard had come off the bench to set up Ronaldo for Manchester United’s winner in their 2-1 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League last week – and he has netted two goals in three substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.

Solskjaer brought on Pogba, Sancho and Ronaldo in the second half, but Andros Townsend’s equaliser in the 65th minute ended up cancelling out Anthony Martial’s opener, as Manchester United had to settle for a point.

Former Manchester United and Liverpool FC star Owen admitted that he was surprised by Solskjaer’s team selection decisions for Saturday’s game, especially the one to leave Lingard unused on the bench.

Speaking to BT Sport, as quoted by Metro, Owen said: “I can’t believe Jesse Lingard’s not… I thought he’d start today.

“I thought [Edinson] Cavani and Lingard would start. They made a big impact when they came on [against Villarreal].

“I couldn’t believe it in midweek when he only got six minutes at the end of the game and still made a huge impact. Every time he steps on the pitch for Manchester United he makes something happen.

“He either scores or assists, or does something. I thought it’s only a matter of time before he gets a start. I thought it would be today. When they are struggling I thought he’d be one of the first players to come on.

“He’s setting himself up for a problem, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, because if you’re going to rest so many big-hitters then all of a sudden you’re going to be leaving one or two players on the bench who either should be starting or should be coming on to change a game.

“So when you leave Pogba on the bench, Ronaldo on the bench, Sancho on the bench you feel obliged after spending fortunes on these types of players you’re obliged to bring them on first when I thought Jesse Lingard was one of the most obvious ones.”

Solskjaer was asked to explain his decision not to start Ronaldo for Saturday’s clash after the game, and he insisted that it’s about selecting the “right moments” to deploy the forward.

“Me and him [Ronaldo] we understand more than the experts for example,” Solskjaer told Match of the Day.

“It’s about picking the right moments to play him, to not play him. He’s not a young puppy anymore but he’s as professional as ever and ready to come on and he came on today with energy and attitude.”

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