New Manchester United signing Tom Heaton has revealed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided some valuable words of advice when the Norwegian was still playing for the Reds.
The 35-year-old keeper was a teenager when the Norwegian left an indelible impression on him, providing support for the Academy product and other youngsters at Carrington.
The tip ended up paying off for the England international, who has rejoined from Aston Villa on a free transfer.
When we asked whether he noticed any signs that Ole was destined to become a top manager, even in the manager’s early days as Reserves boss at United, Heaton said: “Yeah, I did actually. Obviously, I had him as manager for the Reserves and I saw, very early on in his career as a manager of course, but I could see the signs then in terms of how he went about it, how he set the team up and his man-management skills.
“But, before then, even as a player, his words of advice to all the young lads but me especially. I’ll never forget him pulling me to the side once and saying the summer is not the time to have off as a young player making your way in the game. It’s a time to kick on.
“When everyone else is taking it easy, you’ve got an opportunity to take advantage on other people. So I usually only give myself a couple of weeks off over the summer and then start working. It’s something he drilled into me at probably 18 or 19, at the time, and it’s stayed with me.
“So I’m not surprised he’s gone on to do what he’s done and do what he’s doing at the moment. It was always a path he was likely to take.”
Heaton also spoke about his latest chats with the boss ahead of his first season back at Old Trafford.
“I’ve had a couple of conversations with him so far and he’s looking forward to getting started and the new season,” the keeper added. “He’s looking forward to having me on board and, yeah, as I say, I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel great at the moment. I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers.
“I’ve got my eyes firmly set on trying to get into the team and I’m looking forward to getting started on that journey.”
Getting to work! gallery
Scroll through our images of new arrival Tom Heaton in action at Carrington…