Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer

Australian Four Four Two - - ONE-ON-ONE - In­ter­view Chris Flana­gan Por­trait Erik Birke­land

“We have a say­ing in Nor­way: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad cloth­ing,” Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer chuck­les as

shiv­ers pitch­side at Molde’s smart Aker Sta­dion, an arena his $3 mil­lion trans­fer to Manch­ester United helped build. It’s just above freez­ing and snow is on the ground in this tiny city of 25,000 peo­ple on the banks of the Roms­dals­fjord, where the bliz­zards are fol­lowed by brief pe­ri­ods of bright sun­shine, al­low­ing stun­ning vis­tas of the 222 peaks of the sur­round­ing moun­tains. Sol­sk­jaer grew up a few miles away at the other end of the treach­er­ous At­lantic Road in Kris­tian­sund, but it’s in Molde where ar­guably the great­est su­per-sub of all time forged his rep­u­ta­tion as a player and man­ager. If his ill-fated pe­riod as Cardiff City boss left him pin­ing for the fjords, the 43-year-old ap­pears rein­vig­o­rated by his re­turn for a se­cond spell in charge of Molde. In fact, he’s pos­i­tively beam­ing when we ar­rive. “I’ve al­ways read FourFourTwo,” he says, ex­plain­ing how he bought the mag­a­zine even be­fore he moved to Eng­land in 1996. A lot has hap­pened in the 20 years since…

FFT

James, via email

Below League, I knew I looked young, but I could still be a devil – if I had to hit a player’s an­kle in a tackle, I hit his an­kle. Were there any ben­e­fits when I was younger? None at all. I re­mem­ber on one fam­ily hol­i­day to Ma­jorca you had to be ei­ther 15 years of age or above 140cm to go on this slide. I was over 15 but they still wouldn’t let me go on the slide! I was tiny at that age. I was a very late de­vel­oper – I only re­ally started de­vel­op­ing when I was 20 or 21. Then I moved from my lo­cal team, Clause­nen­gen, to Molde and my ca­reer took off.

Is it true that your dad was a cham­pion Greco-Ro­man wrestler? Did you wres­tle?

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