Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Man Utd
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Cristiano Ronaldo is a player on the wane for Manchester United. And with Erik ten Hag hoping to mould Marcus Rashford into a deadly No 9, things could become even tougher for the Portugal international. Especially with Anthony Martial primed to return from injury, too…
Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United back in the summer, with the veteran making it clear he was hoping to play for a team who could offer him Champions League football.
Yet the Portugal international was denied his wish, with both Ten Hag and Richard Arnold making it clear they wanted him to stay.
No Champions League team actually came in for Ronaldo, who wasn’t deemed worth the fuss despite links to the likes of Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund.
And he’s since gone on to endure a nightmare start to the new season, failing to score from seven appearances (including two starts) so far.
Now, according to The Sun, Ten Hag has informed Rashford that he wants him to lead the line and become United’s regular first-choice marksman.
“The manager wants Marcus to be United’s No 1 striker and lead the line up front,” a source is quoted as saying.
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“He believes Marcus has the ability to become one of the world’s best and wants him to express himself in matches.
“He is always telling him to use his pace and skills when he gets a chance. He told Marcus he will easily score 20 this season.
“They have a great relationship and Marcus is really happy.”
And that suggests things are about to become even tougher for Ronaldo at the club.
Rashford isn’t the only player who seems like they can shine up top under Ten Hag, with Martial another.
The France international has endured a difficult start to the campaign himself, with injury preventing him from making a single start.
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However, in pre-season, the 26-year-old flourished by scoring four times.
Martial, when he’s finally fit and ready to fire once again, is likely to be used in his preferred No 9 position – despite also being capable of the wing.
So with Rashford and his team-mate set to battle for a starting berth up top, with Jadon Sancho and Antony then out wide, it’ll be fascinating to see what happens.
With seven games on the board, Ronaldo is already struggling to make his mark at this new United team.
He’s still a good asset to have, that’s no question, but gone are the days where the 37-year-old started matches almost by default.
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With Rashford now earning Ten Hag’s trust, and Martial to return, life for the veteran in Manchester could become even trickier.
He’s simply not done enough to start matches so far this term, with the 37-year-old looking rudderless at the wheel of Ten Hag’s frontline.
And though Ronaldo won’t like it one back, even a player of his size and stature can’t fight against the clock.
Meanwhile, speaking on his YouTube channel, Fabrizio Romano has shut down suggestions Ronaldo has caused problems in the dressing room behind the scenes.
“Let me start with denying the biggest fake news we had around Cristiano Ronaldo for a long time, this summer we saw many stories, especially in August, early August, maybe having some problems in training, maybe having some problems with Erik ten Hag, maybe not happy with being on the bench, with some decisions by the manager,” he said.
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“What I’m told guys, having checked in with different sources, on the player’s side, on the club’s side, on many different kinds of sources, the feeling I have is that it was 100 per cent the same.
“Cristiano Ronaldo never created any single problem into the dressing room this season with Manchester United at all.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is not happy when he’s not playing. This is absolutely normal, as with all the top players around the world, but he’s fighting to be a starter. He’s fighting to be an important player for Manchester United.
“And also, when his transfer was looking likely at the beginning of August and end of July, he never started training as the best professional.
“This is a really clear message from different sides of this story – he never created any problems, never had a fight with team-mates or Erik ten Hag.”
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