Cristiano Ronaldo ran the risk of becoming a peripheral figure at Manchester United this season when he lost his place and that’s still a possibility.
As things stand, Ronaldo is still not Erik ten Hag’s first choice for that striker position, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both seemingly preferred.
Ronaldo has started just one out of six Premier League games this season and the 37-year-old has been limited to substitute appearances in all of United’s four wins.
He has, however, started both of United’s Europa League games and Paul Scholes has now backed the forward to regain his starting place if he continues to score goals after opening his account for the season against FC Sheriff.
“We can’t call him a Europa League player, we just can’t,” Scholes told BT Sport, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“He’s a Champions League player, of course he is. He’s at a club where he’s going to have to settle for that (the Europa League), for now.
“It gives him a chance on those Thursday nights, if he’s playing, to score goals and get himself in the team for the Premier League games – which is where I’m sure he’ll want to be playing and I’m sure he’ll work his way in there.”
The first couple of weeks of August were rough for Ronaldo and his mood was visibly low in the few appearances he made. It must be said that his demeanor has changed since and he seems to be more on board than ever before.
That has coincided with Ten Hag dropping him to the bench but publicly, he has always reiterated that Ronaldo remains in his plans and that he will be important throughout the season.
Scholes is right to point out that Ronaldo is a Champions League player and not a Europe League player. He is, after all, the tournament’s top scorer.
The game against Real Sociedad was his debut in the Europa League and although his ego will have taken a little hit, even Ronaldo must understand that it’s hard to change a winning side.