Manchester United legend Roy Keane has backed Erik ten Hag’s decision to keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for their Premier League opener against Brighton. The Portugal international only managed to play just 45 minutes in the entire preseason, having missed the majority of it.
The striker’s low match fitness was good enough reason for Ten Hag to leave him out of the starting lineup, according to Roy Keane. Speaking to Sky Sports (via Football Daily), the former Manchester United player said:
“I think it was a pretty straightforward call for the manager. As brilliant as Ronaldo is, he’s only had 45 mins of pre-season, I don’t care how well you look after yourself, you need more than that. I think he’s looking at the players he’s got, Brighton at home, he’s probably fancying his chances to beat Brighton without Ronaldo.
Ten Hag: “Who will play in Ronaldo’s position? It can be Bruno. But most of the time it will be Christian Eriksen. He’s really good at playing in that role.”
Ten Hag: “Who will play in Ronaldo’s position? It can be Bruno. But most of the time it will be Christian Eriksen. He’s really good at playing in that role.” https://t.co/V4DMll8zkT
When asked if it would set the tone moving forward, Keane responded:
“Not really, I think there’s a few issues going on in the backroom, we’ve got a few weeks to look at that before the window closes. I think today from a footballing view it was a straightforward call for the manager to make because of the lack of minutes Ronaldo has had.”
“45 mins last week, he didn’t exactly put himself around, so he certainly needs some more minutes under his belt before you can trust him in a Premiership match, I think the call from the manager was common sense really.”
Erik ten Hag: “Cristiano Ronaldo is working really hard to get in the right fitness levels, it will take time”, tells @ShamoonHafez. #MUFC
“He started pre-season last week… so it depends on how quick he is progressing”.
Erik ten Hag: “Cristiano Ronaldo is working really hard to get in the right fitness levels, it will take time”, tells @ShamoonHafez. 🔴 #MUFC“He started pre-season last week… so it depends on how quick he is progressing”. https://t.co/bPac8VDJ4Z
Cristiano Ronaldo could still leave Manchester United
Much of the headlines around Ten Hag’s start to life in the Old Trafford dugout has been on whether Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Manchester United. Numerous reports have stated that the Portuguese great discussed with the United hierarchy and revealed his intentions to leave the club. However, they want to keep him, and he could be an important part of their season.
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Chelsea have reportedly considered a move for the goalscorer, having let Romelu Lukaku leave on loan to Inter. It is unlikely that the Red Devils would be willing to let the 37-year-old move to a direct Premier League rival, but they may accept if the situation leads to dressing room problems.
While Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is still in the air, he will hope to enjoy some minutes against Brighton and add his name to the scoresheet from the bench.
Paul Merson has predicted all the GW 1 fixtures of the Premier League. More details right here
Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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