Gary Neville highlighted Edinson Cavani’s willingness to run and press in the final moments of Manchester United’s victory against Tottenham as proof the club should keep the striker.
The Uruguayan was handed the Man Of The Match prize by Neville on commentary for the game, with the ex-United defender stating his belief that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must extend Cavani’s stay at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer admitted after the Spurs game that Cavani’s future is up in the air, as he hasn’t been able to enjoy Manchester and his surroundings during the covid-19 pandemic. A move back home to South America appeals to the 34-year-old, though United still have a chance of keeping him for an extra 12 months.
Speaking on his self-titled Sky Sports podcast, Neville picked out an unseen Cavani moment and said it would cost United millions to replace the former PSG forward.
Neville said: “I was just watching him. Tottenham had a throw-in about two minutes to go and he was moving between the centre-backs trying to stop the ball being thrown in, and he’s organising where Greenwood should be.
“And I thought, Mason Greenwood needs another year of Cavani alongside him. You need that as young players, it inspired us as young players to see greats like Robson, Bruce or Cantona, alongside you.
“When you see the best players in the world, or who have been like Cavani, doing work like that in the 94th minute, someone like Mason Greenwood — who needs standards, who needs people who are mentors and coaches on the pitch — he needs another year of him [Cavani]. And [Marcus] Rashford needs another year of him.
“I was a bit nervous about him coming in, because of Falcao and Alexis Sanchez, others who have been ‘showcase’ signings, but this has been different. He’s applied himself brilliantly and been a big help to Manchester United.
“How do you replace what he’s doing at the moment if he decides he does want to go back to South America and doesn’t want to take up that year? I suspect United will have to give him the option. If he wants to go back, there’s nothing they can do.”
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Manchester United fought back superbly to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
After a VAR row following United’s disallowed goal in the first half, Son Heung-Min opened the scoring for Spurs. But United came roaring back in the second half to win, with goals from Fred, Edinson Cavani and Mason Grenwood.
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Neville also praised Greenwood’s performance, believing the 19-year-old forward — having learned from Cavani — has stepped up his all-round game.
“I thought his goal was fantastic, he just does the right things in the box, the right movements,” he added on Cavani. “It’s clockwork, the run you’re always getting young strikers to do. The delivery from Greenwood was brilliant, I do think he’s a different level [now] — his composure and delivery in the final third.
“I do think if Harry Kane gets injured, I look at that England centre-forward position and think ‘who’s got his composure?’. I think he can play centre-forward in international football.”