Former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole has heaped praise on Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag for his handling of the situation involving Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, who arrived from Juventus for £13 million last summer, top-scored with 24 goals in 38 matches for Manchester United last season.
However, the 37-year-old striker tried to depart the Red Devils earlier this summer to pursue UEFA Champions League action. He even missed a number of pre-season training sessions in July.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Cole lauded Ten Hag’s man-management skills in his first few months at Old Trafford.
“The way that he’s conducted himself with the Ronaldo situation has been top. It sends a great message to the other lads to say, ‘Listen, if you want to be in my team you’ve got to play by the rules’. You can’t just be coming in here throwing your weight around, we know you’ve got a big name.”
“It’s not just on him by the way, but if you’re going for the top dog and make an example and try and lead by example you’re going to have to go for Ronaldo. He’s the main guy, he didn’t come to training the whole of the pre-season, that didn’t show a bond, so put him on the bench.”
“It’s been brilliant, that’s what you want, to be treated fairly. Imagine if any of those other players didn’t turn up for pre-season, no matter what the circumstances, you wouldn’t be playing.”
“Ronaldo has had to bide his time as well, he’s going to try and get in and fight for his place and there’s been a hoo-ha about him leaving but it hasn’t happened, so he’s got to fight for his place with the World Cup coming up.”
Under Ten Hag, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has started just three matches, with only one coming in the Premier League. He has netted just once in eight appearances in the ongoing season.
Manchester United are currently fifth in the 2022-23 Premier League standings with 12 points from six games. The Red Devils next face city rivals Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday (October 2).
Paul Merson believes Cristiano Ronaldo will be benched in Manchester United-City clash
In his column for Sportskeeda, former Arsenal forward Paul Merson shared his thoughts on the Manchester derby.
“Cristiano Ronaldo will find himself on the bench yet again this weekend. If Manchester United have to win this game, they have to play with pace on the counter. He struggled for Portugal the other day, and he isn’t going to start the game.”
Marcus Rashford is expected to lead the line on Sunday.
Paul Merson predicts Man City vs Man Utd, Arsenal vs Tottenham and other GW 9 matches! Click here