Rene Meulensteen has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t want to give Magnus Wolff Eikrem an opportunity in the first team as he didn’t think he was good enough.
The 23-year-old midfielder left for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde in 2011 and after two successful seasons in Norway he was bought by Heerenveen this summer, where he has made a great start in the Eredivisie.
Eikrem joined United when he was 16 and worked his way through the academy but was never given a first team opportunity, something which Meulensteen admitted Ferguson didn’t want him to have.
Speaking to Voetbal International, Meulensteen said: “Magnus was very small in stature, but footballing stuck out head and shoulders above the rest.
“At United I compared him to Luka Modric, who I also find a great player. Strong on the ball, technically and tactically very good. I worked quite a lot with Magnus, so I regret that he never got a chance.
“I would have dared to put him in the first team, but the manager didn’t find him good enough.”
Ferguson was always renowned for being a great judge of the ability of a youngster but Meulensteen knows his stuff too. He wouldn’t compare any young player to Modric or Gundogan without good reason, so maybe Ferguson should have given him a chance.
However in 2011, United’s midfield consisted of Carrick, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson and Gibson (and Hargreaves) so it was always going to be difficult for Eikrem to break into that side, and so it proved with his departure. While Eikrem hasn’t ruled out a return to United, it would be a surprise to see him return to Old Trafford.
Unfortunately for United, Mats Daehli followed suit this summer by making the switch to Molde in search of first team football and it is a potentially worrying trend that some of our most promising youngsters are leaving the club in search for earlier opportunities, something which David Moyes must make sure doesn’t continue to happen.
Image: TV2 No
Translations sourced from @Sport_Witness