Erik ten Hag warns Cristiano Ronaldo ‘will take time’ to get up to speed after being left out of Man United’s clash with Brighton… as Roy Keane and Micah Richards BOTH insist he was right to leave the striker on the bench

Erik ten Hag has insisted it ‘will take time’ before Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to start after leaving the wantaway forward on the bench for Manchester United‘s Premier League opener. 

The Red Devils hosted Brighton on Sunday afternoon in new manager Ten Hag’s first competitive game in charge, and the former Ajax boss made the big decision to leave out their star player, who has admitted he wants to leave. 

Pundit Roy Keane, a United icon, called it a ‘straightforward call’, with fellow pundits Micah Richards and Karen Carney also in agreement. United went on to lose the game 2-1 against the Seagulls, thanks to a Pascal Gross double.

Roy Keane and Micah Richards have insisted Erik ten Hag was right to leave star player Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) on the bench for Manchester United's Premier League opener

Roy Keane and Micah Richards have insisted Erik ten Hag was right to leave star player Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) on the bench for Manchester United’s Premier League opener

New boss Ten Hag (above) made the decision ahead of his first competitive match in charge

Ronaldo replaced Fred on 53 minutes and although United improved in an attacking sense, he could not inspire a comeback, with Brighton holding on to win despite Alexis Mac Allister’s own goal .

Ten Hag said: ‘He’s working really hard and it will take time. We have to see, I cannot see because it depends on how quick he is progressing. We will do everything and he will do everything.

‘As a striker it can be Bruno but I think the most advanced will be Christian Eriksen. We got Eriksen and Martinez in to strengthen the team. I want to see a team performance… It’s a tough opponent, they can play different systems.’  

Keane said: ‘He’s only had 45 minutes of pre-season. I think he’s probably thinking we fancy our chances of beating Brighton. From a footballing point of view it’s a straightforward call. He needs more minutes under his belt.’

Pundit and iconic former United captain Keane (above) called it a 'pretty straightforward call'

Pundit and iconic former United captain Keane (above) called it a ‘pretty straightforward call’

Former Manchester City and England defender Richards added: ‘I think it’s the right call. It’s Ronaldo, they’ve got to make a decision – they’ve either got to integrate him in the squad. 

‘If a player disrespects the manager you can rebuild that. But this is Ronaldo we’re talking about.’ 

Christian Eriksen – generally used in midfield – started up front for United against Graham Potter’s side, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho behind him and Lisandro Martinez making his competitive debut at centre back.

And former England women’s star Carney concluded: ‘Maybe if you started him and he’s only played 45 minutes what precedent does that set for the rest of the team? He’s not ready.’ 


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