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Monday, February 6, 2023

Solskjaer had amusing encounter with Man Utd women’s captain Katie Zelem

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The midfielder was at United’s school of excellence as a kid and said she was able to watch the senior men’s team train at Carrington. Zelem is a huge United fan but failed to spot Solskjaer at firstZelem returned to Manchester United back in 2018 and has been in fine form for them this season (Image: Getty Images / 2022 James Gill – Danehouse)Manchester United women’s captain Katie Zelem has recounted a bizarre encounter with former Reds manager and player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from her childhood. The midfielder, now 26, was at United’s school of excellence as a kid and said she was able to watch the senior men’s team train at Carrington. A huge United fan, young Zelem was in awe of watching stars like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane up close. But there was one star from Sir Alex Ferguson’s side she managed to blank, leading to an awkward encounter; a man who later took the managerial hot seat at Old Trafford himself – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Zelem revealed the hilarious meeting between the two on the latest episode of Sky Sports’ Inside The WSL. When waiting to catch a glimpse of the first team training, Zelem accidentally ignored the man whose goal won United the Champions League in 1999. “There was a little window where you could watch through and see training,” Zelem explained. “And someone was stood in the way of the window. I thought “it’s a bit rude this now I can’t see’. “I was only like 10 years old at the time, but I thought I’m not having this. I started banging on the window and shouting, ‘excuse me, I can’t see.’ “He turned around and started asking if I wanted an autograph, I said no sorry, I just can’t see. Someone then said ‘Katie that’s Solskjaer ‘, and I said ‘oh sorry!’ “Only years later, coincidentally he was manager here and I was captain, I reminded him of the story and he went along with it, but I don’t know if he remembered. We had a 10 years before and 10 years after photo, it is crazy where life takes you.” A lifelong supporter of United, Zelem was at the club’s centre of excellence from the age of eight. But when the time came to leave youth football, the Red Devils were without a women’s first team. This led to Zelem joining WSL side Liverpool before later moving to Italy with Juventus. However, she completed an emotional return to United in 2018 and immediately helped them win promotion to the WSL. Katie Zelem (right) is leading Man United to a WSL title charge this season ( Image: Manchester United via Getty Imag) “I never thought Manchester United women would exist,” she added. “When I was younger there was no team and I always thought that I would have to leave. “They used to stay ‘Katie stay a bit longer, we’ll get a women’s team.’ I got to 17 and there still wasn’t a team. Reality hit that I would have to play for someone else. “So it was hard to believe or dream that I was going to be a Manchester United captain. I never thought the day would come.” Zelem is now arguably in the form of her career, helping United mount a title challenge after a strong start to the campaign. And the 26-year-old says not being part of the Lionesses squad that won Euro 2022 last summer was actually a blessing in disguise when it came to her club form. “Not being selected for the Euros was a huge point for me,” she added. “I knew it would be 50-50 but it was still tough to take. “I went on holiday and gave myself some space away from football. And this season I’ve just come back raring to go. I’ve managed to have a full pre-season at United and work on things, which has really helped.” NEW! Our Year: European Champions 2022 – The Official England Winners Book With a foreword by England manager Sarina Wiegman, this is the only official book of the historic triumph, reliving every kick of a thrilling tournament and telling the stories of the players who made it all happen. Order from https://reachsportshop.com/book/our-year-european-champion-2022/

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