Man Utd: 337-game star 'pretty obviously' down Ten Hag's pecking order

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag watches on

Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has lost his place at the top of the pecking order for the central striker role thanks to Marcus Rashford enjoying ‘a new lease of life’ at Old Trafford, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Ronaldo has made 337 appearances over the course of two spells with the Red Devils, while he has scored 142 goals in the process, but he has not been a regular starter during the early stages of the season.

GiveMeSport The Verdict
GiveMeSport The Verdict

What’s the latest news involving Ronaldo?

Ronaldo has only been included in the starting line-up twice since Erik ten Hag took over as Manchester United’s boss, but his current employers were defeated on both of those occasions.

While the 37-year-old has entered the final 12 months of his £480,000-per-week contract at Old Trafford, he was keen to seal his departure during the summer transfer window.

It emerged during the close season that Ronaldo had told the Manchester United hierarchy he wanted to leave the club due to wanting to compete in the Champions League.

The frontman’s agent, Jorge Mendes, held talks with Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, where a switch to Stamford Bridge was discussed, while links to Napoli also surfaced.

Ronaldo rejected what was described as an ‘obscene’ offer from Saudi Arabian champions Al-Hilal, while their rivals Al-Nassr failed with a summer proposal as well.

What has Pete O’Rourke said about Ronaldo?

O’Rourke believes Ronaldo is set for a prolonged period out of ten Hag’s preferred XI due to the form of Rashford.

The journalist feels it will be difficult for the 189-cap Portugal international to move back to the top of the pecking order thanks to his team-mate’s impressive start to the campaign.

When asked whether Ronaldo is not ten Hag’s first choice striker at Manchester United during an interview on Tuesday, O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “I think that’s pretty obvious from ten Hag’s team line-ups so far.

“He’s kept Ronaldo on the bench and given Marcus Rashford a new lease of life, it seems.

“After a disappointing season last term, Rashford has repaid ten Hag’s faith with three goals, including a double against Arsenal a couple of weeks ago.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo re-joined Man United in 2021

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How has Ronaldo compared to Rashford this season?

While Ronaldo is still searching for his first goal of the season, Rashford has found the back of the net three times and played a key role in Manchester United moving to within three points of Premier League table-toppers Arsenal.

The underlying numbers also show why Rashford, who is on a contract worth £180,000-per-week, is being selected ahead of the Portuguese.

Statistics show the 46-cap England international has averaged more tackles, blocks and pressures per 90 minutes than Ronaldo this season, so he is more willing to contribute defensively.

Rashford also boasts the best average match rating among his team-mates, so it would be unfair for ten Hag to take the 24-year-old out of the starting line-up in favour of Ronaldo.

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