Gary Neville praises Edinson Cavani and talks up striker's importance to Manchester United

Edinson Cavani scored Manchester United’s goal against Newcastle to salvage a point from a wreckage of a performance.

Cavani was a half-time substitute playing his first match since early November after an injury caused him to be sidelined.

This was just Cavani’s second goal of the season, and yet notably, his second in his last two Premier League games.

Cavani had a chance to win the game late on and failed to convert, and had earlier snatched at another opportunity. On another more clinical night he would have had a hat-trick.

He did at least do enough to get United’s point and his chances exhibited his ability to get into space between defenders in the first place.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Cavani importance praised

Former United star Gary Neville spoke highly of Cavani after his role in United salvaging a point at St James’ Park.

Neville told Sky Sports: “I always feel better when he’s in the team. he represents the shirt. He belongs.

“He’s fantastic. I don’t think he wilts in presence of Cristiano Ronaldo or Bruno Fernandes. He stands up to them, he helps the younger players.”

Neville went on to criticise Ronaldo and Fernandes’ attitude for the way they walked off after the game, frustrated with the result.

Cavani always delivers

2021 has been a mixed year for Manchester United, and from the good moments fans have been able to savour, Cavani has often been at the very heart of them.

He has scored 15 goals in the calendar year, a figure bettered only by Bruno Fernandes (19), and a tally which would have been far more if not for injury.

As Neville points out, Cavani plays for the badge and that is evident each and every time he gets onto the pitch.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Fernandes and Ronaldo are two very talented players who have given so much to United, and yet against Newcastle, both players were badly off their games.

Usually when they both fail to perform, United lose, but this time Cavani was there to step up and make a vital contribution.

If United are going to have an improved 2022, keeping Cavani around and keeping him fit is going to be crucial, and work needs to start on finding a replacement for when his deal expires.

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