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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he can’t stand in the way of his Manchester United players’ achieving their boyhood dream of playing international football.
The United boss was speaking after it was confirmed that Amad and Eric Bailly would both be a part of the Ivory Coast setup for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Bailly has been named as one of the three overaged players in Haidara Soualiho’s squad, while January signing Amad will also have a chance to impress.
The tournament is set to kick off next Thursday, with the final taking place on August 7 – just one week before the new Premier League season starts.
Amad and Eric Bailly will both appear for Ivory Coast during the Olympics in Tokyo this summer
Any players involved in the latter stages in Japan will likely miss the start of the domestic campaign in order to recover fully.
But Solskjaer has revealed he didn’t have any hesitation in allowing his players to join up with their international teammates and hopes it could provide the players at Carrington with a massive boost upon their return.
“I think everyone, when they grow up, watches the Olympics and can see Usain Bolt or Ryan Giggs. I saw him play in the Olympics [for Great Britain in 2012]!” Ole told the club’s official site.
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“When your country calls you up, I think I can’t stand in the way of that boyhood dream being fulfilled.
“Of course, Eric is over-age but I think they can see the value of him and that’s why they brought him in.
“Amad is a young, exciting prospect. It’ll be good to see them. It’ll be their pre-season but they’ve got to come back with a medal. We need a nice feel about the place when they come back!”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he will never stand in the way of his players appearing for their national sides
It’s a very different stance to the one taken by United’s arch enemies Liverpool. The Reds opted to block Mohamed Salah’s release, despite Egypt suggesting he was keen to play in the tournament.
Clubs are not obliged to release players for the Olympics because games are not on the FIFA calendar.
And with the African Cup of Nations set to take place in January of next year, Liverpool were unwilling to allow Salah to miss two portions of the season.
Egypt coach Shawky Gharib admits he tried on several occasions to convince the Premier League side to allow their star man to travel to Japan.
He said: "I tried many, many times with Liverpool, as did the Egypt FA, to persuade them to let Salah be a part of the Olympic team but they refused completely.
"Mohamed wanted to play the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He talked with me, I did my best to bring him. Salah was a key player in my Olympic plans. But the club refused – we need to move on."
Liverpool refused to allow Salah to join the Egypt Olympics team
Jurgen Klopp has spoken about how Salah and Sadio Mane have finally been given a break this summer, something he has been pleading with them to do.
"Mo had seven weeks, Sadio didn’t because he played for Senegal, so I think he had around about five weeks,” Klopp explained.
"But it is incredibly long – they are used to two-and-a-half weeks in the summer, which, [and] I said it plenty of times, is not enough.”
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