Man Utd verdict: Edinson Cavani proved he has role to play despite giving shirt and starting spot to Cristiano Ronaldo

1 week ago 13

EDINSON CAVANI gave up more than just his number 7 shirt when Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in August.

As it turned out he also waved goodbye to the chance of playing regularly in his second and final season at Old Trafford.

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Edinson Cavani showed against Aston Villa that he still has a role to play for Man Utd[/caption]

With Ronaldo out with a hip muscle problem, the veteran Uruguayan, 34, was handed a start for just the fifth time this season.

Ralf Rangnick was delighted when Cavani told him he wants to see the season out at United rather than looking for a move this month.

And there was enough to suggest he can still play a big role over the next four months – if he is given the opportunities.

This was more like what the former Napoli forward signed up for last summer. 

He was leading the line while giving a couple of younger players like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood alongside him the benefit of his experience.

Nobody could say the decision to bring Ronaldo back was the wrong one – 14 goals in 21 appearances so far tell their own story.

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After all, where would United be without them?

But the question is as he approaches his 37th birthday early next month, does he need to play in pretty much every single game – when United have quality options such as Cavani in reserve.

The Stretford End unfurled a banner showing the faces of club legends Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and Bryan Robson – with the word ‘Standards’.

No doubt they have dipped at this club since those days, but Cavani’s are very high – they always have been during his days at Napoli and Paris Saint Germain.

And that much was evident in his first season at United when he proved the critics wrong to score 17 times in total.

Former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer raved about how professional he was off the pitch and what a great role model he was for the youngsters.

That was part of the reason why he persuaded him to postpone his return to South America and sign another 12 months at Old Trafford.

Yet injuries and the form of Ronaldo have meant chances have been severely limited. Yet when both he and the Portuguese started against  Burnley after Christmas and the team scored three.

With no Ronaldo though he was given a chance down the middle and he saw a header go just too high after Marcus Rashford picked him out with a cross.

Then he was played in by skipper Bruno Fernandes but the angle was tight and Tyrone Mings got the touch before Emi Martinez made the save.

The opening part of the second half was a rearguard action for the home side but Cavani played his part.

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He was also pivotal to an equaliser from Danny Ings being ruled out as a VAR check showed the Uruguayan had been fouled by Jacob Ramsey in the build up.

Cavani was subbed 18 minutes from time as Rangnick tried to stop the flow of Villa attacks – but he was given a warm ovation as he went off.

United fans would like to see more of him and the interim boss needs to find a way to make that happen.

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