·15 September 2022
·15 September 2022
The 37-year-old has been a peripheral figure for the Red Devils in the early stages of Erik ten Hag’s tenure, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon following their upturn in form.
Ronaldo made a surprise return to United back in 2021 following a 12-year stint away from the club after they splashed out £19.8 million to prise him away from Juventus.
And the five-time Ballon d’Or winner made a solid enough start to his second stint at Old Trafford, registering 24 goals and three assists in 39 appearances throughout last season.
However, Ronaldo couldn’t fire United to a top-four finish, and as a result, he asked to leave the club just 12 months after his comeback in order to play in the Champions League elsewhere.
Yet despite the best efforts of his agent Jorge Mendes, no formal offers arrived for the Portugal international, and he was forced to remain put at United.
Ronaldo has since been unable to force his way back into the thinking of Ten Hag, who has opted for a more youthful and mobile forward line so far with his bold choice eventually paying dividends.
United splashed out a whopping £85m to bring right-winger Antony to the red half of Manchester over the summer while welcoming back Anthony Martial following a loan spell at Sevilla.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have also returned to form in the opening weeks of the season, and O’Rourke believes Ronaldo finds himself down Ten Hag’s pecking order at this moment in time.
He told GiveMeSport: “Going forward, it looks like Ronaldo will have to get used to sitting on the bench because I think Rashford and Martial are ahead of him in Ten Hag’s plans right now.”
His limited game time was justified by his poor performances, though, as the England international racked up just seven goal contributions in 32 outings across all competitions.
Nevertheless, Rashford has certainly earned his recall to the United starting lineup by finding the back of the net on three occasions in his six Premier League games this term, setting up two further strikes along the way.
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