Alexis Sanchez could have an Eric Cantona-like impact on Manchester United after signing for the Reds just over a week ago, claims Frank Lampard.
The former-Chelsea midfielder believes that Sanchez’s impact on the rest of his new teammates in training will be invaluable and enormous.
Sanchez was named Man of the Match in his debut for the Reds, a 4-0 win against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup Fourth Round in which Sanchez assisted once and played a significant part in Marcus Rashford’s opener.
However, he was less influential against Tottenham Hotspur as Man United failed to recover from conceding after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen. Given little to work with, Sanchez did little, too. He was far from the worst of the players, and was one of United’s better performers, but would have been expected to do more.
Despite that, Lampard told BT Sport that the signing of Sanchez “ups the standard.”
“Whether it’s a technically gifted player like Sanchez or a disciplinarian who gets people working around him, you feel it in training.
“Alexis Sanchez looks like he might bring that little bit of magic like Eric Cantona did. He can do so many things with the ball, he’ll lift everyone.”
It’s a comparison that’s been bandied about regularly. United have a relatively young squad, with even key players such as Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku still under the age of 25.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw are all 23 or younger, too. Scott McTominay is coming through the ranks, so too will be Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah next season as well as potentially Andreas Pereira.
Sanchez could play an important role as talisman of this United side, nearing his 30s and having played for and had great success at FC Barcelona as well as spells at Udinese and Arsenal.
His work rate and attitude is one of his best attributes. It must be harnessed correctly, though, because the Sanchez in his last few months at Arsenal was a moaner on the pitch, not tracking to win the ball back when his teammates lost it because he was frustrated by them.