Former Manchester United academy graduate Luke Chadwick expects Cristiano Ronaldo to get more opportunities to start games as the season goes on.
Ronaldo missed the entire pre-season tour due to a family issue and only got to play the first half against Rayo Vallecano before the competitive season, so everyone should try to understand that it will take him time to adjust his game to meet Erik ten Hag’s demands.
The Portugal international has had to make do with a place on the bench for much of this season to date, but he can expect to be in the line-up for Thursday night’s Europa League clash against Real Sociedad.
Chadwick feels the 37-year-old should still be a useful member of the squad as there will be so many games in a short period of time between now and the World Cup.
“I don’t think Ronaldo’s going to start every game, but with the massive volume of fixtures because of the way they’re cramming them in, in this World Cup year, there’s going to be opportunities for him,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.
“Obviously Ten Hag changed the team and left Ronaldo out after the Brentford game, and you do wonder if results hadn’t quite gone United’s way, would he have brought Ronaldo back in, but credit to Rashford, he’s performing well and if the team does well in Ronaldo’s absence then he’s not going to be in a hurry to change that.”
Chadwick also revealed that he expected Ronaldo to leave United this summer.
He added: “I was fully expecting him to leave, but he looks like he’s in a good place and his attitude’s been bang-on.
“He’s a tremendous professional, you could see the way he celebrated Antony’s goal from the bench, and the work he did when he came on – he pressed a bit more than we’re used to seeing, he held the ball up.”
Wake up call for Ronaldo
At 37, Ronaldo shouldn’t need to be told that he can’t start every game at this level.
United are trying to build for the future and I’m happy to see Ronaldo is part of that because his presence should be a bonus for the younger players in the squad. Not a hindrance!
Ten Hag deserves credit for sticking to his idea of how he wants his team to play, even if we are seeing more high balls in recent weeks.