Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has told Erik ten Hag not to play Cristiano Ronaldo against Liverpool on Monday evening.
United’s all-time top goalscorer has urged the Red Devils manager to bring energy to the pitch, which would mean leaving the 36-year-old’s former team-mate out for the game.
Via the Times, Rooney said: “I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford.
Wayne Rooney has warned Manchester United against starter Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday
United striker Ronaldo wants to leave the club to return to play in the Champions League
“If I was in Ten Hag’s position, my main concern would be to get energy on the pitch, and not recruiting a new number means they trusted Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained much with the team
“He looked like he needed time to get fit. ten Hag needs energy from his side and that may mean dropping Ronaldo.
Rooney also described United’s 4-0 thrashing of Brentford last weekend as “difficult to watch”, saying he had “never seen Manchester United so lacking in these basic qualities”.
“Football has developed tactically and improved technically during my time in the game, but the basics don’t change,” he said.
“If you don’t run, if you don’t try, you can lose to any team. I have never seen Manchester United so lacking in these basic qualities. His hammering of Brentford was hard to watch.
Erik ten Hag has lost his first two games as United manager and faces Liverpool next
“If this had happened to any of the United teams I’ve played for I think the fans, the journalists and every other team in the country would have been shocked, but people weren’t with this team. The most worrying thing is that neither the result nor the performance surprised me’.
Rooney won five Premier League titles as a United player, the last in 2013, but United have not won a championship since then and are currently bottom of the Premier League.
A number of managers have come and gone since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with Erik ten Hag the latest in a long list of testers.
“Erik ten Hag was right to call the players and talk about hunger, and it was fair enough that he took them to extra training, where he asked them to run the same distance that Brentford beat them,” Rooney said.
“Ten Hag will have done a lot of soul-searching this week and will be making a lot of demands to get a reaction from his players, I’m sure.
“But with this group, that’s been going on for so long that it’s going to take something drastic to change their ways. They’re emotionless — there’s no character, no heart in the team.
“I’m not talking about all the players. Harry Maguire will always try, Fred will always try and Scott McTominay may not be Paul Scholes or Michael Carrick but he will always come out and show some balls. Those three have tried to lift the group but it depends on the people take responsibility.
ten Hag is the latest in a long list of managers who have tried to follow Sir Alex Ferguson
Rooney has also called for Marcus Rashford to be dropped for the game at Old Trafford
“As for Marcus, I think he needs to do a lot of soul-searching and figure out what he wants, for his own good, first and foremost. Since looking at him is a real concern, he seems to want to be anywhere but a football field.
“Watching United, I see players raising their arms and shouting at their teammates, but I don’t see them talking or looking at each other before blaming others. I see them making attractive runs to shut down the keeper, but not from 50 yards to stop a attack
“I see them going up in the crowd after the game apologizing or going on social media with the whole ‘Here we go again’ joke. The fans see it. My message would be: stop apologizing, get on with it work and work. That’s all the fans want. They want to see them take responsibility for 90 minutes.”
United lost their opening two games of the season against Brighton and Brentford and face a tough game against long-time rivals Liverpool on Monday.
United lost 5-0 in the same game last season, which was rearranged due to protests against the club’s owners, the Glazer family.
Several Manchester United fans have called for the Glazer family to put the club up for sale
Anther protest is being planned for tomorrow’s game, but Rooney has warned United must be on song or risk another heavy defeat.
“We have to remember that this is just the beginning of Ten Hag’s reign, it will take time and he will have identified a number of issues to address when the time is right. He clearly wants to see the players he inherited and give them a opportunity
“But he also has to do something quickly and the first priority is, against Liverpool, to compete and try. Do that and the fans will accept it, even if United are beaten. Play like he did against Brentford, and United will suffer an even worse result than their 5-0 loss to Liverpool last season.
“To be honest, I don’t expect that to happen – I don’t see United winning, but I think there will be a backlash and they will lose by a goal, or even get a draw.”
David de Gea was at fault for two of United’s goals in their 4-0 defeat by Brentford last week.
United hope Casemiro will be the answer to their long-running central midfielder problems
Rooney also questioned new United signing Casemiro, who will not be available to face Liverpool but could be the solution to United’s midfield woes in the long term.
“This goes back to the need to look to the future,” said the current DC United manager.
“Ideally they should be signing players in their twenties, and Casemiro is similar to Christian Eriksen, someone who has been a good player, but will they help the club progress? Frenkie de Jong, the main midfield target for Ten Hag, it would be better.
“The Casemiro deal seems to have come out of nowhere and looks like a reactive signing – I’d be surprised if he was a player identified as a priority to bring in when ten Hag arrived.
“It seems that, having been unable to sign De Jong, United have just reacted by making Casemiro available.”
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