Man Utd: What happened to the 2010 reserve squad Ole Gunnar Solskajer led to the title?

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Could Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do the unthinkable and lead Manchester United to the Premier League title?

We’ll get a good indication of whether this United side are title contenders or pretenders when they face champions Liverpool on Sunday.

But they go into their away match against Burnley on Tuesday knowing a point will see them go above Liverpool ahead of the mouth-watering tie.

A stick used to beat Solskjaer with is that he lacks the experience to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world.

His previous spell in management in England saw him fail to save Cardiff City from relegation.
Prior to that, Solskjaer was managing Molde in his native country - a club he returned to following his spell at Cardiff.

In total, Ole had spent six years at Molde - three years before the Cardiff job and three years afterwards - before United came calling.

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But if he was to lead United to the title this season, it wouldn’t be his first piece of silverware of his managerial career having won the Tippeligaen on two occasions with Molde, as well as the Norwegian Football Cup.

In fact, he’s actually already won silverware at Manchester United.

That’s because his first steps into coaching were with United’s reserve side, taking over as manager in 2008 and remained in that role until January 2011.

His biggest achievement during that spell was winning the Reserve Premier League in 2010.

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After winning the Premier Reserve League North, the Red Devils met Aston Villa at Old Trafford - the winners of the Premier Reserve League South.

United triumphed on penalties after a 3-3 draw to claim the title.

But 11 years on, what has happened to the squad who featured in that game?

Well, let’s take a look:

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Ben Foster

Foster found himself batting with Edwin van der Sar for the number one spot at Man Utd and could only manage 23 appearances for the first-team.

Permanent spells at Birmingham and West Brom followed before a move to Watford. He’s now 37 and playing regularly in the Championship.

Rafael

One of the most successful players from this reserve side in terms of appearances for the first-team.

The Brazilian played 170 times for United during his career before enjoying a five-season spell at Lyon. In the summer, the right-back moved to Istanbul Basaksehir and helped the Turkish side beat United in the Champions League earlier this season.

Joe Dudgeon

A defender with massive potential but his career was ultimately ended by injuries.

By the age of 15, Dudgeon had appeared for Man Utd’s Under-18 side and also got himself a first-team squad number during the 2009/10 campaign.

But he left the club without making a first-team appearance and had to retire in 2015 after a short spell with Hull.

At 28, Dudgeon works as a youth coach for Northern Ireland and Manchester City, who he also acts as a scout.

Corry Evans

The captain of the squad but another player from this successful reserve side that failed to make a first-team appearance.

Evans spent two seasons at Hull and is now currently in his eighth season at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship.

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Ritchie de Laet

De Laet was actually named Reserve Player of the Year following United’s success and had already made six first-team appearances.
But he failed to play a further game and had numerous loan spells before a permanent move to Leicester.

He then, rather incredibly, managed to win the Premier League with Leicester and while on loan with Middlesborough, helped them gain promotion from the Championship.

A spell at Aston Villa saw him join Royal Antwerp and Melbourne City on loan, before he made the move to Antwerp permanent in 2019 - the club he started his career.

Oliver Gill

The son of former Manchester United chief executive David Gill, Oliver won the Reserve Player of the Year in 2011.

However, after a brief loan spell at Bradford, he decided to study economics at Durham University.

Oliver Norwood

Again, he failed to make an appearance for United but enjoyed spells in the Championship with Huddersfield, Reading, Brighton as well as loan stints at Fulham and Sheffield United.

After making a permanent move to the Blades, he finally got his opportunity in the Premier League, playing all 38 matches for Chris Wilder’s side last season.

Rodrigo Possebon

Fantastic name, not quite a fantastic career.

Eight first-team appearances including playing in the 2009 League Cup final victory.

Four years later, he was appearing in Brazil’s fourth division. At the age of 31, he now finds himself at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

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Cameron Stewart

Stewart didn’t make it at the Theatre of Dreams and spent time at Hull, Ipswich and Lincoln City.
He hasn’t been with a club since 2018.

Federico Macheda

Who can forget THAT wonder goal against Aston Villa during in April 2009 - a crucial goal that helped them see off Liverpool to win the Premier League?

That goal alone probably helped him stay at United far longer than he probably should have done playing 36 times in total, scoring just five goals.

Permanent moves to Cardiff and Serie B side Novara followed. He’s now in Greece with Panathinaikos where he’s scored 30 goals in 76 appearances.

Mame Biram Diouf

Interestingly, United actually signed Diouf from Solskjaer’s Molde where he had scored 45 goals in 86 games.

But the striker only managed nine games for United’s first-team before a move to Hannover in Germany.

He returned to England with Stoke, where he remained for six years before being released in the summer of 2020. He signed for Turkish Süper Lig side Hatayspor at the start of this season.

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Substitutes

Ron-Robert Zieler

Goalkeeper Zieler also moved to Hannover after leaving United with zero first-team appearances.
After six years in Germany, he returned to England with Leicester before going back to his native country with Stuttgart. He returned to Hannover in the summer of 2019 and, after falling out with the club chairman, was shipped out on loan to Koln for this season.

Scott Wootton

Wootton actually played four times for the first-team, including a 5-4 loss to Chelsea in the League Cup.

He’s since had spells at Leeds and MK Dons. He’s now playing in League One for Plymouth Argyle.

Gabriel Obertan

The French winger managed 28 appearances for United before playing for Newcastle for five seasons.

One-season stints at Anzhi Makhachkala and Wigan followed before he signed for Levski Sofia in July 2017. He’s now in Turkey’s top-flight with BB Erzurumspor.

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Will Keane

Injuries have been tough on Keane, who would surely have played more than three times for the first-team otherwise.

He signed permanently for Hull in 2016 but has only managed 26 matches for them. A pretty unsuccessful time at Ipswich followed and he’s now at League One strugglers Wigan, where he’s scored five goals in 12 matches this season.

Paul Pogba

Who?

Pogba was just 17 at the time and had to make do with a place on the bench. After leaving the club for Juventus, he returned in a world-record £89 million deal. He hasn’t quite paid that back with a string of inconsistent seasons and he could soon be departing Old Trafford once again.

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