Alexis backed by Solskjaer
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has voiced his support for Alexis Sanchez, as the Chilean forward continues to build his fitness.
Alexis returned to the club for pre-season later than most of the rest of the squad, after playing a key role in his country's journey to the semi-finals of this summer's Copa America in Brazil, where Chile lost 3-0 to Peru.
But the January 2018 signing from Arsenal is working hard in training, and stepped up his programme with a match behind closed doors.
Alexis takes on the Colombia defence during this summer's Copa America.
Although Alexis's team-mates are further down their respective roads to full match sharpness, the boss has been impressed with the Chilean's attitude since he returned to Manchester.
"Alexis is such a professional," began Solskjaer. "He comes in every single day, working really hard, and he wants to be a part of this. Of course, there have been [media] stories again, [saying] that he has been put in the Reserves. Of course he hasn't!
“He's part of our squad and he's a very, very good player. He's just had a couple of weeks, three weeks now, so he's a few weeks behind the rest, but he's very close to being part of it.”
Following the departure of Romelu Lukaku, Solskjaer has restated his commitment to a promoting a more fluid forward line that does not play with a traditional target-man-style striker.
Fellow attackers Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial began the new campaign with a flourish last weekend, in the emphatic 4-0 dispatching of Chelsea, with the Academy graduate scoring twice and his French colleague applying United's pivotal second goal, which doubled our advantage midway through the second half.
Solskjaer believes Alexis could thrive in a more central role – a position he is familiar with from his time under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
Alexis last appeared for United during the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in May.
"We don't have the biggest forward line in [terms of] numbers, so Alexis might end up playing a lot more games than you expect," admitted Ole. "Because we expect him to come good at this club. He's quality.
“We've had a behind-closed-doors game and he's training, he's doing a little bit of extra work and it'll be [about] gradually integrating him into more and more playing time. But we'll have more behind-closed-doors games, because with only one game a week now it's hard to keep everyone ticking, so we're arranging a few of them.”
United return to competitive action against Wolves on Monday evening at Molineux (kick-off 20:00 BST).
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