Jamie Carragher has described criticism of Erik ten Hag’s failure to utilise Cristiano Ronaldo as “laughable.”
Ronaldo, 37, was an unused substitute in Manchester United’s 6-3 loss against Manchester City on Sunday, prompting several analysts to criticise Ten Hag’s choice not to bring him on.
When asked why he didn’t play Ronaldo, Ten Hag told reporters after the game that it was “out of respect for his huge career.”
This drew outrage from former player Roy Keane on Sky Sports, who accused the Dutchman of disrespecting Ronaldo by refusing to employ him outside of European competition.
‘I think Man United are disrespecting Ronaldo,’ Keane stated. I believe he should have been let go before the window closed.
‘OK, you’re the manager, you need choices, but you don’t keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.’ He is one of the finest players of all time.
‘He’s played him in a few of European games.’ It’ll only become worse as the season progresses.’
Meanwhile, Graeme Souness told talkSPORT on Monday morning that he would have preferred to play Cristiano Ronaldo at City over Marcus Rashford because ‘time is not your friend’ in football and the manager needs results immediately.
‘In football, time is not your friend; you have to win games today,’ he remarked.
‘It’s not about waiting for Marcus Rashford to develop into the player that many feel he can be.’ It’s not about handing [Anthony] Martial a starting spot over Cristiano Ronaldo because of his age. Football is all about today. Yes, I would have portrayed Ronaldo.
‘When Marcus Rashford initially broke into the team as a young kid, you felt, “He’s the real deal.” He’s come to a halt. If you asked me today, next week, huge game – with all his flaws, Cristiano Ronaldo, I would have started him ahead of Rashford.’
Carragher, on the other hand, disagreed with his Sky Sports colleagues.
The former Liverpool and England defender said on Twitter that the notion that Ten Hag ‘got it (his team selection) wrong’ by not playing Ronaldo against City was ‘laughable.’
‘The suggestion that Erik ten Hag made a mistake by not playing Ronaldo yesterday is absurd!’ he added.
‘Ronaldo played at Brentford when it was 4-0 at half-time. It’s not a dig at Cristiano Ronaldo, but Rashford’s pace on the counter attack as we saw vs. Arsenal [and] Liverpool was the best option.’
United had won their previous four games following their humiliating early-season setback at Brentford.
Rashford scored three goals in wins against Liverpool and Arsenal, as mentioned by Carragher, rewarding Ten Hag’s trust in him over the Portuguese superstar.