Cavani points to the "spirit of the team" on Instagram

Tuesday 02 March 2021 10:48

Lee Grant is a man who will do anything to help Manchester United.

Whether it is keeping goal between the sticks, driving on his fellow stoppers at the Aon Training Complex or staying late to work with the strikers, the 38-year-old is always ready and willing.

A lifelong Reds supporter who is literally living his dream, Grant is one of the most popular figures in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad and his influence on the group should not be underestimated. 

As eagle-eyed fans may have noticed in recent weeks, Lee has stepped up his role by acting as a stand-in goalkeeping coach on matchdays, due to several staff members isolating as a precaution. 
Grant's willingness to help has been highlighted by his role as our stand-in goalkeeping coach on matchday.

After helping to oversee the warm-ups for David De Gea and Dean Henderson, Grant has joined the staff in the dug-out and even helped facilitate substitutions in a role Richard Hartis usually takes on.

Footage of Lee holding up the substitutes board has been broadcast around the world and fans have taken great delight in seeing our versatile no.13 fulfilling this unusual task. 

Our official Instagram account shared a video of Lee assisting Juan Mata’s introduction against Real Sociedad and, while it was clearly a light-hearted post, a certain team-mate was quick to show his appreciation. 

Writing in the comments section, Edinson Cavani published a message that perfectly describes the squad’s view of Grant: “My respect, Lee. SPIRIT OF THE TEAM.”

As you can read below, the respect between the two men is mutual...

RESPECT FOR A MASTER CRAFTSMAN

In a recent edition of UTD Unscripted, our popular long-read series, Grant wrote a detailed assessment of our strikers and reserved special praise for Cavani, as you can read here…

“Edinson is somebody who I’ve always loved to watch, long before he came to United. He was always my number one target on Championship Manager back when I had the time [days which are behind me now with four children] and he is a real pleasure to play with. 

“As much as it pains me to say as a goalkeeper, it’s a real pleasure to watch him ply his trade. He has a way with his movement and his first touch of setting things up in such a way that he’s almost guaranteed a goal as an end product because of the position he’s taken up, the run he’s made, the touch he’s given himself. He always gives himself a really high-percentage chance to score at the end of that.

“Some of his finishes as a result of training can look so natural, but it’s all down to preparation. He has this uncanny knack of repeating, repeating, repeating, and that’s a real skill in itself, the dedication he has to finish with such care and attention to detail. I think certainly our younger lads are all benefiting from being around somebody who is so meticulous about his work.

UTD Unscripted: In the firing line article

Lee Grant explains what's it like to be a goalkeeper at the highest level of football.

“I said in an interview recently that the young strikers here should be following Edi around with a notepad. They really should. Edi is somebody who you would love to put in a mould and recreate him. If I was a manager, I would love to have lots and lots of Edinson Cavanis because you certainly know that everything away from the field is done in a correct manner. Everything that’s done leading up to getting on the field is done in such a way that he’s completely prepared. 

“His preparation is faultless. I know that because I’m in the gym an awful lot and he’s always, always in there as well. I really value that in a player and if you look at how he applies himself in training and look at how much he cares about practising his movements, recreating the steps that he knows he’s going to perform in a game, it’s incredible to watch. He’s not practicing for the sake of it; he purposely practices movements that he knows will be relevant to the next game.

“He doesn’t spend an hour practising finishes from 35 yards because he‘s not going to do it in the game; he practices the kind of touches and finishing that he knows he’ll need in the game. He wants crosses coming in. He says: right, this is the way we’ll be playing on Saturday, can I have 25 shots from here, from this angle. That, for me, is an attention to detail that if I was a young player, is the type of thing I’d ensure that I was studying.

“I do already see Edinson’s teachings manifesting themselves in the young lads. They’re not necessarily things that are going to come out in terms of his movement being mimicked, it’s more about mentality. It really comes down to that attention to detail, mental approach and that’s something that every player who gets older and more experienced learns.

“He’s obviously done that at a very high level throughout his career, otherwise he wouldn’t have had the career he’s had. Those are the aspects that I see as really important and that our young lads are already benefiting from hugely because he’s showing how to behave.”

Read Lee Grant's UTD Unscripted for more exclusive insight into our strikers

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