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"I wouldn’t start the great man" - Former Manchester United player explains why Erik ten Hag should bench Cristiano Ronaldo against Manchester City

Should Cristiano Ronaldo start against Manchester City today?
Should Cristiano Ronaldo start against Manchester City today?

Former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath has urged Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag to bench Cristiano Ronaldo and play him in a super-sub role against Manchester City.

Manchester United and Manchester City return to action following the international break today (October 2). The two sides will lock horns against each other at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League.

The Red Devils go into the game on the back of a good run of form, having won each of their last four league games. However, they have a couple of injury concerns ahead of the match.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been facing issues ahead of the Manchester derby. While they have returned to training, it is unclear whether they are fit enough to start today.

There have thus been suggestions that Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for Manchester United against Manchester City. McGrath, though, is not in favor of the idea of starting him.

The former Manchester United defender has advised Ten Hag to hold Ronaldo back and use him as a super-sub. McGrath, however, is aware that the Portuguese icon could prove him wrong as a starter. He wrote in his Sunday World column:

"Even as I write these words, I know they are going to come back and bite me because Cristiano Ronaldo will score a hat-trick today. But, actually, I wouldn’t start the great man in the Manchester derby."
"I’d keep him for the last 20 minutes, or so, when he could come on and do serious damage to a tiring Manchester City defense at the Etihad. Of course, my scenario gambles that United will still be alive in the match by then against Erling Haaland and co."

McGrath pointed out how Ronaldo is not known to be a hard worker. He also explained that Ten Hag should not risk destabilizing the team by bringing the forward in. He wrote:

"I know the club haven’t played a domestic match for a month, but I think it is an unnecessary move by Ten Hag to bring his man back into a starting role."
"You have something that is working, stick with it until it doesn’t work. And there are risks involved, for Ronaldo is not known for putting a shift in during matches."

How has Cristiano Ronaldo fared for Manchester United this term?

Cristiano Ronaldo has found his playing time limited under Ten Hag this season. he has played eight matches across all competitions for Manchester United, but five of those appearances came from the bench.

Reduced playing time has also made it difficult for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to get on the scoresheet. He has found the back of the net just once for the Red Devils this term.

It now remains to be seen if he will be handed a rare start against Manchester City today. Should he earn a place in the first XI, he will be keen to prove his doubters wrong.

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Edited by Dakir Mohammed Thanveer
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