Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has indicated that superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo could play a bit-part role at Old Trafford this season.
Ronaldo’s uncertain future with the Red Devils has hung over the club for much of this summer, with the Portuguese being linked to several teams. However, he is set to stay in Manchester for the time being after the transfer window shut on Thursday, September 1.
Following Manchester United’s match against Leicester City, Ten Hag was asked about Cristiano Ronaldo’s Old Trafford future. He responded (as quoted by Manchester Evening News):
“As we said that. It’s really early in the season and we have a squad. We have more than 11 starting players, that is what you see now, players now on the bench can play in one, two or three weeks.”
Ronaldo notably started on the bench for United’s 1-0 win against Leicester, which took place on Deadline Day at the King Power Stadium. It was the third successive match in which he began as a substitute.
The forward came on for goalscorer Jadon Sancho in the 68th minute. During his stay on the pitch, Ronaldo took two shots, including a bicycle kick, with neither hitting the target. He also registered one key pass and completed eight passes with an accuracy of 66.7% (via Sofascore).
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United will take on Arsenal this weekend
Following a torrid start to the season, Manchester United have now won three matches in a row. Ten Hag’s troops beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford before picking up successive 1-0 away wins at Southampton and Leicester. They are now fifth in the Premier League standings with nine points from five games.
The Red Devils now face a much tougher task when they welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday, September 4. The Gunners are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League, having collected 15 points from five matches while scoring 13 goals and conceding just four.
Mikel Arteta’s side have looked the real deal so far and are first in the standings, two points clear of second-placed Manchester City. However, they have won just twice at Old Trafford in the league over the last 17 years.
Their most recent meeting at the famous stadium came in December last year. Manchester United ran out 3-2 winners on that occasion, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting a brace.