Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Edinson Cavani to make a ‘big impact’ sooner rather than later and insists the veteran striker is looking ‘sharper and sharper’ in training.
Cavani has made just three substitute appearances since completing a free transfer to Old Trafford in the summer and the 33-year-old is yet to find the net for the Red Devils.
Eyebrows were raised at the signing, given Cavani’s age and lack of football in recent months, and ex-United captain Roy Keane slammed the Uruguayan’s apparent lack of effort during his warm-up prior to the side’s defeat to Arsenal.
The outspoken former midfielder even suggested Solskjaer’s job could be on the line if United’s move for Cavani turns out to be failure.
‘I’m intrigued when I look at warm-ups. Cavani never threw a leg, he actually didn’t do a warm-up, did he?’ Keane told Sky Sports.
‘Then he comes on as a sub and is being asked to get them back in the game.
‘Ole’s talking about having to get him [Cavani] up to speed, well, sometimes it’s up to the player to do something.
‘Ole will pay the ultimate price, obviously. Ole will lose his job, walk out of this group of players, that’s whats going to happen.’
But Solskjaer is convinced Cavani will become a key player for United this season after keeping a close eye on the forward’s fitness in training.
‘Edinson’s generally a fit man anyway and he’s getting his sharpness in training and he’s got some substitute appearances now,’ the Norwegian told United’s official website.
‘We haven’t managed to get him long enough yet to make a big impact.
‘But he’s looking sharper and sharper in training so it won’t be long.’
Anthony Martial is also set to return after he missed United’s defeat to Arsenal through suspension.
‘Anthony has been important for us last season and in the time I’ve been here,’ Solskjaer said.
‘So, of course, to have him back is a boost. It gives us more options for up front and on either side, and we’ll look forward to seeing the best of Anthony.
I thought towards the end of the Leipzig game, you could see his sharpness getting there and he was really positive and bright, which is good.‘