Just a couple of days before Manchester United take on Liverpool in a highly anticipated Premier League clash, Red Devils’ icon and record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney has called for manager Erik ten Hag to drop both Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford from the team.
Writing for his Sunday Times column, Rooney said, “I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford. If I was in Ten Hag’s position my main concern would be getting energy on the pitch, and United’s failure to recruit a No 9 means they relied on Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained a lot with the team. He looked like he needs time to get match fit.”
Rooney said that Ronaldo does not look match fit and called on United to grant the Portuguese talisman his transfer exit wish.
“He has also let it be known that he wants to leave the club. I don’t know his reasons but, as I wrote in my last column, I’d let him — he’s a great player and will always score goals but the task for Ten Hag is to produce a team that can compete for the title in three or four years’ time. That means rebuilding with younger players,” Rooney added.
The former England international, however, was not as lenient in his views of ex-teammate Marcus Rashford and said that “he looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch.”
“I think he needs to do a lot of soul-searching and figure out what he wants, for his own good, before anything else. Because watching him is a real concern: he looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch. I haven’t seen him smile on the field for a long time. His performances have dipped — he hasn’t been selected by England for more than a year. I’m coming from a place of wanting the best for him,” Rooney wrote.
Rooney also stood by under-fire captain Harry Maguire and the midfield duo of Fred and Scott McTominay saying that these three are the players who always try to lift the team but “but it comes down to individuals to take responsibility.”
United play Liverpool on Monday coming off a 2-1 loss to Brighton and a 4-0 thrashing by Brentford, which was widely deemed to be one of the worst results in Manchester United’s recent history. On the other hand, Liverpool has also underwhelmed so far with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.