Edinson Cavani has flown across the world to feature for Uruguay this international break after sitting out the last one.
Cavani knows he has an important role for his country in the always tightly contested Conmebol qualifying group.
But his role for Uruguay’s first game could be lesser than he might have expected.
Uruguayan newspaper Ovacion reports Cavani is expected to be on the bench for Uruguay’s match against Colombia, which kicks off on Friday at midnight UK time.
Coach Oscar Tabarez reportedly grouped together his preferred XI for his first training session, and Cavani was not part of it.
The Manchester United striker was in the second XI, with Ovacion reporting it was a ‘surprise’ he was not among the first.
This routine is seen as normal for Tabarez’s pre-match preparations and a strong indication Cavani will be on the bench.
In his place Uruguay are expected to play 21-year-old LAFC forward Brian Rodriguez alongside Luis Suarez, with Cavani one of two substitute strikers along with Benfica’s Darwin Nunez.
We will see if this is an accurate forecast, or a deliberate dummy by Tabarez to throw the press and opponents Colombia off course.
Cavani has not been playing regularly for Manchester United, starting just one match this season. And in this game he was substituted on 59 minutes.
Not starting this game may be seen as a disappointment for Cavani, but he will realise there are two more matches remaining, against Venezuela and then Brazil.
From Manchester United it would be a positive if Cavani did not start all three. While we want him to rediscover his goalscoring touch and get some game time, there’s no need to overdo it and risk injury.
In other news, Cavani has been cleared to enter Brazil for the final qualifying game.
In the previous Conmebol matches there was a furore over whether UK based players could feature and this led to to the Brazil versus Argentina game being abandoned.
La Diaria report Cavani has been approved to play. This is actually bad news for United.
The game takes place less than 48 hours before the United versus Leicester City fixture, and therefore, Cavani will not be ready to feature.
Brazil midfielder Fred will also have no involvement in the Premier League game either.
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