Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping Manchester United can hand World Cup and multiple Champions League-winner Raphael Varane the challenge he needs to take his illustrious career to the next stage.
The much-decorated 28-year-old France international defender joined the club in a £34million switch from Real Madrid earlier this month, but is yet to make his debut after an extended summer break.
However, Varane is close to pulling on the famous shirt for the first time and his new manager is excited to see what he will bring to the mix.
Asked about the four-times Champions League winner as he prepared his team for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Wolves, United manager Solskjaer said: “As a person, as a player, he’s got class, so he will fit in at Manchester United, definitely.
“I think we’ve signed a top person and a player at the right time because it’s a new challenge for him after being a World Cup winner and a Champions League winner at Real Madrid so many times.
“He’s probably needed the challenge and hopefully we can challenge him to take the next step.
“He’s working really hard. When I asked him if he was ready to play – we had a behind-closed-doors (match) against Burnley last week – and he said, ‘No, I need to suffer on the training field first’.
“But now he’s had a couple of weeks of good training and he’s looking as impressive as ever.”
If Varane’s move to Old Trafford could serve to enhance an already glittering reputation, teenage striker Mason Greenwood is still establishing his.
The 19-year-old’s name was conspicuous by its absence from the latest squad announced by England boss Gareth Southgate on Thursday, but his club boss revealed he is in touch with Southgate over the 19-year-old’s future and has no qualms with the way he is being handled.
Solskjaer said: “Mason is on the right track. I have had conversations with Gareth – he sees him as a potential England striker. We potentially see him as a very, very good talent.
“It’s taking it step-by-step and the way Gareth wanted to manage that one, I felt very comfortable with. I think Mason’s on the right track, definitely.”
Meanwhile, Solskjaer confirmed that midfielder Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham and has been included in the England squad, is part of his plans for the new campaign despite speculation he could leave the club during what remains of the summer transfer window.
He said: “Jesse, I see him as a Manchester United player. I know there’s been loads of speculation about him, but he’s had a very good pre-season, he’s just been picked for England in the squad… He’s just been unfortunate that he got Covid just before the week started.
“He would have 100 per cent started the first game, the pre-season he had, so we can see him doing well this season.”
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