Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the Norwegian coach of the legendary Manchester United football club, got to see his own teenage son make his professional debut, as a rival at home in Norway Tuesday night. The 19-year-old Noah Solskjær plays for the family’s hometown club in Kristiansund, which faced off against Manchester United in a training match at Norway’s national stadium in Oslo.
“It was a proud moment for him and for me,” papa Ole Gunnar told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after his son was tapped to play five minutes before the match ended. That marked his debut with Kristiansund Ballklubb (KBK), whose head coach Christian Michelsen has described the young Solskjær as an up-and-coming player. His now-46-year-old dad was 23 when he was first recruited by Manchester United from the Norwegian club in nearby Molde.
KBK fans were mighty proud on Wednesday over how their club performed against Manchester United before nearly 25,000 specators at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo. “We held them off (0-0) for 90 minutes, but a penalty made the men in red winners in the end, 1-0,” declared the club on social media when the “festive evening at Ullevaal” was over. Reaction ranged from “Well done,” “Extremely proud” and “Fantastic fun,” to one man declaring himself to be “a proud and impressed Kristiansunder today.”
The meeting of the two Solskjærs on Norway’s national field also drew cheers and applause when Papa Ole Gunnar ran over to congratulate his son Noah when he got to play. The mild-mannered Noah told NRK afterwards that “it was great to get to play against United.” When asked what his father said to him on the field, Noah replied that “he wished me good luck.”
He claimed he’s had no pressure from his famous father to play football himself, and said he was also proud of KBK’s “fantastic performance, when we were so close to holding United at 0-0.” He normally plays in the fourth division for KBK’s B-team.
Commentators agreed that Manchester United did not put on a good performance in the training match at Ullevål, and coach Solskjær’s star has dimmed since his own outstanding debut as head coach late last year. It was United’s fifth training match this summer, after also playing against Perth, Leeds, Inter and Tottenham, all of which ended in victory. United will meet AC Milan in Cardiff this weekend, and then Chelsea in the Champions League opener on August 11.