Solskjaer appointed manager of Molde

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been installed as the new manager of Molde, severing a 14-year tie with Manchester United.

Solskjaer was unveiled by the Norwegian outfit today after deciding to quit as United's reserve team boss, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson to find a replacement.

The 37-year-old's time at Old Trafford will forever be remembered for the heart-stopping injury-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

It was one of 126 goals in 366 appearances from the Red Devils, his £1.5million move from Molde in 1996 going down as one of the shrewdest pieces of business in Ferguson's entire time as United boss.

Although the player's career was eventually ended by a persistent knee injury in 2007, Ferguson had long-since identified Solskjaer as potential management material and offered him the chance of becoming reserve team boss as part of a coaching shake-up that saw the Norwegian work alongside Warren Joyce.

However, with his three young children, Noah, Karna and Elijah all growing up, Solskjaer has now decided to branch out with his old club, leaving with Ferguson's blessing.

"Ole has had a good period with our reserve team, which has given him a foundation to start somewhere else," confirmed Ferguson.

"He feels it is time he went back to Norway, which also helps his family situation.

"He has been a fantastic servant to us and I am sure he will do well.

"He has worked with some really good young players in our reserve team and has contributed to their development.

"Once he gets experience of managing a club in its own right who knows where it will take him?

"Molde is a very progressive club in Norwegian football, so this is a good start for him."

Solskjaer replaces former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler at Molde, who finished 11th in the Norwegian top flight last season.

He will take up his new duties in January ahead of a new campaign that begins in March, with Ferguson believing the move will work to United's benefit too given Solskjaer has already identified the talent of Mame Biram Diouf, who is currently enjoying a positive first season in the Premier League with Blackburn after joining on loan from United after his transfer from Molde.

"We have a good contact base in Norway now," said Ferguson.

"It is difficult to say what Ole will do long-term but he has made a conscious decision regarding his family, which worked out well with the fact that Molde were looking for a coach."

It has been suggested that Gary Neville, who has made just three appearances so far this season and has suffered a succession of muscular problems in recent years, is being lined up as a replacement.

However, Ferguson insists there are no plans in place at present.

"I have no idea who takes over the reserves," he said.

"We will just leave it at the moment."

Solskjaer said: "I've been away (from Norway) for 14 and a half years and felt it was time to go home. The opportunity to manage Molde was too good to turn down.

"I've had conversations with the gaffer (Ferguson) in the last couple of weeks and he said it was a good step - and that was the go ahead for me. He encouraged me and they were the words I needed to hear.

"I've enjoyed my time in England but I've got five or six weeks left here and I will enjoy it - but it's time now to go back to Norway because of my family.

"I'm looking forward to this challenge but it's massively hard to leave Manchester United. When I told the manager I almost had a tear in my eye.

"I've had an unbelievable time, I've played under him for 11 years and coached for three and a half years, learned a hell of a lot and everyone at United has treated me fantastically."

Asked on Sky Sports if he saw himself returning to Old Trafford as manager in the future, Solskjaer added: "Anyone who's played for United would love to manage the club - but as the manager told me, you need experience and this is the first step for me. Maybe in 25 years, maybe that's the time."