Gary Neville praised striker Edinson Cavani’s ‘brilliant example’ set to Manchester United‘s young forwards after a fine performance in a 3-1 victory against Tottenham on Sunday, when he scored a crucial goal and could have had another.
The 34-year-old Uruguayan has scored eight goals in 29 appearances since signing on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in October, a move Neville admitted he was worried about given the failures of Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez.
But on the Gary Neville podcast, the Red Devils icon hailed Cavani’s off-the-ball movement, work rate and finishing and stated his hope he would stay at Old Trafford another year to pass those skills onto Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
Manchester United icon Gary Neville praised striker Edinson Cavani (above) on his podcast
He called the 34-year-old a good example to Mason Greenwood (left) and Marcus Rashford
He said: ‘There was a moment at the end where Tottenham had a throw-in with two minutes to go and he (Cavani) was moving between the centre-back trying to stop the ball being thrown in. And he’s organising where Greenwood should be.
‘Mason Greenwood needs another year with Cavani up alongside him. When you see someone like that – it inspired us as young players, when you saw great players like (Bryan) Robson, (Steve) Bruce, (Eric) Cantona, Mark Hughes when we were younger.
‘When you see (those) who have been the best players in the world like Cavani doing his work like that in the 94th minute, someone like Mason Greenwood needs good standards above him and people who are mentors and can coach him on the pitch.
‘He needs another year of him. Rashford needs another year of him. He’s been a really brilliant example. I was a little bit nervous about him coming here because of Falcao, Alexis Sanchez – which were ‘showcase signings’. This one’s been different.
‘He’s really applied himself brilliantly and has been a big help to Manchester United. How do you replace what he’s doing at the moment if he does want to go back to South America and doesn’t want to take up that year (extension)?
‘Manchester United have the option but they will give him the option. If he wants to go back, then there’s nothing they can do. He does the right things. He does the right things as a striker in the box, the right movements. It’s clockwork.’
And Neville stated his fervent hope that the Uruguayan would extend his stay at Old Trafford
Cavani signed a one-year deal with the option to extend the deal by a further year, but the striker has been linked with a move back to his native South America and Boca Juniors.
Sportsmail reported last week that Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed the striker remains ‘unsure’ about staying at the club, with concerns over his playing time.
Up next Solskjaer’s side face Granada in their Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday, 2-0 up from the first leg, before hosting Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.