Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says Alexis Sanchez 'Champing at the Bit' for Injury Return

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2019

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United  during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on January 2, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Alexis Sanchez is "champing at the bit" to get back in Manchester United's plans following his latest injury setback and is working hard to have an impact at Old Trafford, says interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Sanchez became a forgotten figure under previous manager Jose Mourinho amid an incessant string of injury troubles, but Solskjaer told reporters just how eager the Chilean is to make his mark under the new coach:

"A player loves to play football, doesn't matter who you are, you want to play football. And he's been hindered by injury, and I know all about injuries and how frustrating that can be and how eager you are to get back.

"Maybe in the Reading game he should have told me at half-time, 'I need to come off now.' Because the 15 or 20 minutes he played in the second-half was too much for him, so that gave him a setback.

"But he's champing at the bit, I have to say, he's working hard in training. His attitude has been fantastic in training and he wants to play. And I'm looking forward to seeing him, but I've got loads of good players to choose from."

United host Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, the same side that beat them 3-2 at Falmer Stadium in August, and Sanchez is aiming to make what would be his first Premier League start since November 3.

The Chilean was signed from Arsenal in January on wages understood to be above £300,000 per week, and ESPN FC pundit Shaka Hislop recently broke down how Sanchez can breathe new life into United's squad:

Solskjaer's talk of Sanchez's renewed motivation comes in contrast to the lack of positive talk fans heard from predecessor Mourinho during Sanchez's absence in months gone by.

This isn't the first time the Norwegian tactician has spoken highly of his sidelined star since the beginning of 2019, either, and United blogger Scott Patterson recently provided more positive comments:

The winger's best season in Arsenal colours saw Sanchez hit 30 goals, but he's struck only four times in 32 outings for United and also contributed nine assists in that time.

It seems unlikely the South American will start against Brighton given Solskjaer noted his overexertion in the recent 2-0 FA Cup win over Reading, where he picked up an assist.

That's particularly the case seeing as Solskjaer appears to be settling on his attacking formation, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard the main stars thus far, per Football365:

Sanchez could be fit in time to feature against Brighton on Saturday, but supporters will be pleased to know his eagerness to play at least seems to be at a high.  

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