Solskjaer urged to forget playing for Norway

August 6, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson has urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to forget any notion of reviving his international career.

After missing virtually three entire seasons with knee trouble, Solskjaer has so far come through Manchester United's current pre-season campaign without a problem.

The 33-year-old came completed another encouraging 90 minutes against FC Porto in Amsterdam on Friday night and, having talked optimistically about returning to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, there have been suggestions Solskjaer could be drafted back into the Norway squad for the eagerly-awaited friendly with Brazil in Oslo on August 16.

Yet Ferguson does not believe adding extra games onto his current workload would be of any benefit to Solskjaer at all.

And, while some may accuse the United boss of selfishness, he insists his advice is for the striker's own good.

'Ole should concentrate on club football,' said Ferguson.

'I am not saying that in a selfish way, I just feel it is difficult enough for him to complete a comeback as it is.

'To involve himself in and focus on international football at the age of 33, having been out for as long as he has, is asking too much.'

As the delicate process of building up Solskjaer's match fitness without putting extra strain on his body continues, Ferguson kept the former Molde player on the sidelines for last night's win over Ajax.

The United boss must now decide whether to play the veteran striker at Oxford on Tuesday or hand him another outing in the final friendly against Seville at Old Trafford next weekend.

With Ruud van Nistelrooy now at Real Madrid, the threat of a three-match ban hanging over Wayne Rooney following his red card against Porto and Louis Saha yet to make an appearance during United's pre-season campaign, Ferguson knows Solskjaer could be a key figure in his planning to face Fulham in the Premiership opener on August 20.

But, the Red Devils chief is also aware that, fully fit, there are few better than Solskjaer to call on in an emergency.

'Ole is looking fantastic at the moment,' said Ferguson.

'I am a bit surprised at the way he has come back because you get worried and anxious about any player in their 30s who suffers injuries like that.

'What we are trying to do now is ease him back in gradually.

'We have a plan mapped out for him and if he can keep clear of injury, his intelligence, movement and goalscoring ability would make him a fantastic addition to our squad.'