Solskjaer returns to Man United to watch daughter Karna make history with first-team debut

Two months after his departure as manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made an emotional return to Manchester United over the weekend to watch his daughter make her first-team debut for the same club he represented both as player and manager.

Manchester United Women were facing Bridgwater United in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and they had 19-year-old Karna Solskjaer among their substitutes at Fairfax Park.

The Red Devils advanced at the expense of their third-tier opponents, who were only founded as a club six months ago, by cruising to a 2-0 victory while enjoying almost 70% of possession. One own goal (which United's own match report awarded to Hayley Ladd) and another from Ella Toone either side of half-time were enough to see United through to the fifth round.

Ole was in attendance alongside his wife Silje, who both had to wait until the closing stages of the game to witness their daughter's big moment. Sure enough, Karna came off the bench for the final few minutes as United made their fifth and final substitution of the game, much to the delight of her proud parents who were watching on from the terraces.

Karna, a striker, has been following in her father's footsteps by joining the United Women development side since arriving from Molde (another of her father's former clubs) in 2019. She earned her call-up to the first team after scoring for the under-21s in last Wednesday's 5-0 win over Aston Villa in the semifinals of the Academy Cup.

Following her cameo against Bridgwater, Ole and Karna Solskjaer are now the first-ever father-daughter duo to represent Manchester United in a senior capacity, but coach Marc Skinner insists the younger Solskjaer's promotion to the senior set-up is no novelty.

He said: "It wasn't a token for Karna, it was a deserved [debut], from the performance that I saw from her the other day. So congratulations to her.

Asked about Karna's family connection, Skinner added: "Obviously she's got a famous dad, but she wants to be famous in her own right.

"We were privileged to have Ole as our manager, as well as a wonderful player for this club, but again, it stops becoming about Ole as much, and more about Karna. It's so important that we raise that fact.

"And maybe, if we are talking about the beauty and the romanticism of the FA Cup, maybe this is a story of the romanticism of the Solskjaers and how important they are to this club."

Still, the travelling supporters heralded Karna's introduction by harking back to Ole's glory days with a rendition of the old "You are my Solskjaer" chant which was heard regularly at Old Trafford during his playing days.

There were echoes of the moving scenes witnessed at Old Trafford in December, when former United youth player Robbie Savage was afforded the chance to commentate on his own son's first-team debut for the club during a Champions League game against Young Boys.

Charlie Savage, 18, came on for the last few minutes of the game to make the first appearance of his professional career while dad Robbie was struggling to hold back the tears up in the media gantry while commentating on the match for UK broadcaster BT Sport.

ESPN's Kathleen McNamee contributed to this report