Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful the club’s attacking options can learn ‘a different way of playing’ from summer signing Edinson Cavani.
Cavani made his first start for the club during the midweek Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir and produced an encouraging performance, leading the line expertly and linking well with the Red Devils’ forward players.
The veteran was signed to provide competition and depth to Solskjaer’s centre-forward options with Cavani having enjoyed a career of huge success at the highest level, scoring 200 goals to become Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time record scorer before leaving the French capital during the summer.
Cavani’s presence provides Manchester United with an out-and-out number nine with neither Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford having truly convinced centrally, the duo deployed either side of the Uruguayan to great effect during the win over the Turkish champions on Tuesday night.
Teenager Mason Greenwood provides another option and was introduced as a substitute in midweek, though the 19-year-old has played much of his senior football from a position on the right-hand side.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game with Southampton, Solskjaer was asked if he was tempted to utilise Greenwood more centrally going forward, and while he backed the teenager to become ‘a top number nine’, he pointed to the example of Cavani as one to follow for his young forwards as they bid to add different aspects to their game.
“Yeah, the game against Istanbul, they had the spaces that we felt was going to suit that set-up,” he said at his press conference.
“When you look into games, you look at your own team but how the opposition set up and I think that game suited Marcus on the right and Anthony on the left.
“Mason can definitely develop into a top number nine, he has one of the top number nines of world football over the last 10 years to learn from now, Edinson. That goes for Anthony, him and Marcus.
“Edinson has come in and shown a different way of playing as a nine to what we’ve had at the club for a while, so they can learn from him, definitely, but they are all capable in playing in all those [forward] positions, so that’s a nice skill to have.”