Wayne Rooney says player risks being an unwanted distraction at United

By on 12th November 2022

Rooney, who has scored more goals for United than any other player in team history, claims that Ronaldo’s this season have been unacceptable and would not have been permitted to stand in the locker rooms they shared.

In October, during United’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham, Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel rather than coming on as a substitute, forcing manager Erik ten Hag to bench him for one match.

Roy Keane, a former United captain, criticised Ten Hag for how he handled Ronaldo this season, but Rooney believes it is up to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to make sure he helps the team rather than hurts it.

Rooney responded to talkSPORT’s question about whether Ronaldo made Manchester United a better team:

“No, I don’t think so. Him and Messi are arguably the two best players of all time and you can go either way with that, whatever way you decide.

“But I just think the things he has done from the start of the season; it is not acceptable for Manchester United. I’ve seen Roy Keane defending him. Roy wouldn’t accept that. Roy wouldn’t accept that at all. It is a distraction which Manchester United don’t need at the minute, when they are trying to rebuild.

“For Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. If he does that, he will be an asset. If he doesn’t, it will become an unwanted distraction.”

Rooney, who spent 13 years at United and won five Premier League championships, has been pleased with Ten Hag’s performance thus far.

Since taking over, the Dutchman has won 65% of his games, and Rooney is confident he is the right choice because there is evidence the club’s identity has already been restored.

“I think Ten Hag has done really well,” Rooney added. “He’s come in and stamped his authority on the team, and for the first time in about two or three years I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United which I haven’t seen in the last two or three years.

“He’s shown his strength and his character with how he dealt with Cristiano at times with the stuff he’s been up to.

“He’s the right man for the job. I think it will take time but it’s a real step in the right direction to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.

“I’m very close with Darren Fletcher so I know what he’s doing and how he’s going about his work. I know the players and staff are a lot happier than they have been over the last couple of years.”

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