Solskjaer expects Sancho and Rashford to brush off rival fans' taunts

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to brush off taunts from opposition fans about their tournament exploits in the same way former Manchester United legends David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo did

  • Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford both missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final
  • Bukayo Saka also missed in the shootout – but received applause at Brentford
  • However, Sancho and Rashford were mocked by Leeds fans last weekend 
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed the pair to follow the example of two legends
  • David Beckham faced abuse following his 1998 World Cup red against Argentina
  • Cristiano Ronaldo shone after being blamed for getting Wayne Rooney sent off 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is backing Jadon Sancho to beat the boo-boys just as David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo did after they were abused on their return to club football after major international tournaments.

With United playing at Southampton on Sunday, Sancho faces a large majority of opposition fans for the first time since he and Marcus Rashford missed penalties for England in the final shootout against Italy at Euro 2020.

Though Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, the third player to miss, has been warmly received by supporters, the goodwill may not extend to Sancho, who is expected to make his first start for United following a £73million move from Borussia Dortmund last month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed new £73million man Jadon Sancho to silence the boo-boys

The Manchester United winger missed a penalty for England in the Euro 2020 final shootout

Former United star David Beckham faced terrible abuse at Premier League grounds after he was sent off for England at the 1998 World Cup and Ronaldo received similar treatment for his role in Wayne Rooney’s red card against Portugal eight years later. 

Last week, Leeds fans were filmed singing, ‘You let your country down’, referring to both Sancho and Rashford.

‘With regards to how we handle it, no problem. Jadon and Marcus are both strong characters,’ said Solskjaer. 

David Beckham suffered abuse at Premier League grounds after his 1998 World Cup dismissal

‘We know as a club that sometimes you have to be strong. The way the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] dealt with the Becks situation was the right prototype. We will protect him, I’ll protect him. That’s absolutely no issue.

‘When you go away, say with Cristiano and Becks, it’s not just because you’ve done something wrong, it’s also because they are afraid of you. Becks dealt with it in his own way: “I’ll show you, I’ll prove how good I am”.

‘They are the traits of a Man United player and person, to go through difficult times still knowing you’ve got your team-mates and they have your back.’

Cristiano Ronaldo faced similar treatment after his wink following Wayne Rooney’s red card

Solskjaer was at Old Trafford as a player with Beckham and Ronaldo but hopes Sancho will not have to suffer as much as they did.

‘I don’t expect that to happen with too many fans. More of them are more respectful and support their country,’ he said. 

‘You’ve seen support to the players who have been brave enough to step up for their country. 

‘The old Theodore Roosevelt ‘Man In The Arena’ resonates for me in this situation [the speech said it is better to be involved in the action than a critic].’

United were unbeaten away last season and got the campaign off to a flying start by beating Leeds 5-1, despite not starting with any of their feted front three of Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Sancho.

Mason Greenwood, 19, was among the scorers last week and Solskjaer thinks missing the European Championship has helped the striker hit the ground running.

Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were racially abused online after missing penalties

Solskjaer believes missing out on Euro 2020 was a blessing in disguise for Mason Greenwood

Raphael Varane is available for the first time as the Red Devils gear up to face Southampton

‘The boy has had problems and injuries, he has done well working to get fit and I can see the benefit of his summer,’ said Solskjaer. 

‘Mason would have loved nothing else than to play in that Euro final. But when you are a young boy, sometimes the body takes its toll with all the games and training and you need to look after yourself.

‘When it didn’t happen for Mason, when he had to stay here, he worked really hard to get fit again.’

Raphael Varane, a World Cup and Champions League winner, is available for the first time following his move from Real Madrid and Cavani could also see some action.

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