The Reds boss made 21-year-old centre back Axel Tuanzebe skipper despite their World Cup winning midfielder being back in the starting line-up after missing three matches with an ankle injury.
Solskjaer claimed the decision arose because it is important he gets to find out about the character of the youngster who will hopefully drag the club back towards the top.
“Axel is a captain in the making. He is a leader and why not give it the young kids?” said the United boss after his side scraped past the League One outfit with the help of a penalty shootout.
“We know we can give it to Sergio (Romero), we can give it to Paul – that’s no problem they have been captains before. But it’s Axel so how does he handle it?
“The answer is he did absolutely fine. He enjoyed it so that is just a way of telling him that we trust him.”
United appear convinced of the need to let Solskjaer execute a slow rebuild with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward this week insisting he had the board’s ongoing support.
And after a summer during which Pogba agitated for a move away, the manager clearly believes that in Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and a handful of academy stars he has the building blocks of a side capable of once again challenging for the title.
Who leads them to the promised land is not totally clear with summer signing Harry Maguire still favourite to take the armband from goalkeeper David de Gea at some stage.
However Solskjaer hinted he at least hopes to keep faith with his youngsters for the next round against Chelsea despite an unconvincing collective display against Rochdale on Wednesday.
“I had my talk with the boys (at half time) and I am not going to say too much about what we spoke about but the main thing is we are through,” he said.
“Some will go back and think ‘yes he might be right and we have to do this better’. But if you are through to the next round you are happy.
“It’s a difficult draw (against Chelsea) but it’s a game that these boys will learn from. They will play one of the top teams in the country.
“I think some players learned a lot today and I think some proved to us we can really give them more responsibility.”
As an indicator that it is not only Solskjaer looking to the next generation of talent coming through the ranks, it was noticeable that Rochdale goalscorer and fellow teenager Luke Matheson asked for Mason Greenwood’s shirt at the final whistle.
But Solskjaer warned United fans to have patience where the striker is concerned.
He said: “Mason again showed with his goalscoring abilities (and) people understand why we regard him so highly and why we will give him time to grow.”