Football

'Special moment' for St Etienne midfielder Selnaes

EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 32, 1ST LEG

MAN UNITED v ST ETIENNE

(Tomorrow, 4.05am, StarHub TV Ch 212 & Singtel TV Ch 112)

Ole Selnaes could be lining up against his idols at Old Trafford tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

An intelligent defensive midfielder, the 22-year-old is an important cog in the St Etienne side who face Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash.

And the former Rosenborg man is relishing the clash against the club he supports.

"English football and Manchester United are really, really big in Norway," Selnaes said.

"The Premier League is by far the most popular league in Norway and, when I grew up, we had some Norwegians at Manchester United so, obviously, I followed them totally.

"I have been to some games when I was a little kid... Of course, it is going to be a special moment.

"It's one of the most special stadiums in the world - a great history, a special stadium."

Ronny Johnsen and Henning Berg were among the Norwegians to enjoy success at Old Trafford, but for a young boy called Ole his favourite United player was obvious.

"One of my favourites was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer," Selnaes said.

"When I grew up, he was in his prime and did really well. He was maybe the greatest player in Norway at that time."

St Etienne are not the force they once were, but remain one of France's grandest clubs, having won 10 league titles and finished runners-up in the 1976 European Cup.

The team sit fifth in Ligue 1 - a point off bitter rivals Lyon despite beating them at the start of this month - as they enjoy a decent season under long-serving manager Christophe Galtier.

SPECIAL TIE

It will be a special tie for Selnaes and several others, no more so than the Pogba brothers, Paul and Florentin, as they prepare to face each other.

"He thinks it's fun," Selnaes said.

"I talked to Florentin and he said, 'It's once in a lifetime to play against your brother'.

"It's a fun thing. I can imagine if I were playing my brother in a big game, of course it's a funny thing.

"When the game starts, maybe they forget about it. Afterwards, they will remember it for a long time."

Meanwhile, Man United target Antoine Griezmann said that he is enjoying life at Atletico Madrid, but will "see what the future brings".

"I feel great at the club and in Madrid," the French striker told fifa.com.

"On a personal level, I'm very happy and, in football terms, we're about to move to a new stadium, which is very important.

"We'll just have to see what the future brings but, for now, I'm very happy here and I hope to win trophies with this club."

- PA SPORT

EUROPA LEAGUEManchester United