Anthony Martial is certain to miss Manchester United’s Premier League opener owing to a hamstring injury, forcing Erik ten Hag to make a critical choice on Cristiano Ronaldo’s involvement.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag may have to reconsider Cristiano Ronaldo’s participation in their Premier League opener due to Anthony Martial’s injury.
Ronaldo, who wants to leave Manchester United this summer, has barely played in pre-season after skipping the club’s tour of Asia and Australia due to family obligations. As a result, Ten Hag is said to have decided that Martial, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford will lead the line against Brighton this Sunday.
According to The Athletic, Martial will miss the first game due to a minor hamstring injury. He was holding his leg when he left the field against Atletico Madrid in Oslo, and he will now undergo additional testing to see when he will be able to return.
The Frenchman, who sparkled in pre-season with numerous goals after returning from a loan spell at Sevilla, is expected to return for the trip to Brentford on August 13 but may not play until the August 22 match against Liverpool.
Ten Hag is forced to make a big decision on Ronaldo in his absence. The obvious pick to lead the line would be the Portuguese superstar, but Rashford can also play as a central striker, with Anthony Elanga waiting in the wings to fill his role out wide.
Ronaldo was also one of several players chastised by Ten Hag this week for departing Old Trafford before full-time in the weekend pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano. Ten Hag called their acts “inappropriate” in an interview with the Dutch outlet Viaplay Sport Nederland.
Ten Hag was asked by the interviewer: “We discussed how important it is for you to have players arrive on time and your attention to detail at the start of the conversation. But Cristiano appears to come and go whenever he pleases; how do you handle that?”
“He was permitted to go for private reasons with his family,” Ten Hag responded, “therefore what you are claiming is completely false.” “But against Rayo, he left the game during the interval,” the interviewer responded.
“There were many more players who left,” Ten Hag responded. The journalist was taken aback by Ten Hag’s remark and inquired: “So you’re okay with that? Let it go?”
“Definitely not,” Ten Hag stated emphatically. “So, how do you handle that?” the interviewer inquired. Ten Hag then expressed his actual opinions on the subject. “I absolutely do not condone this,” the Dutchman remarked. “This is intolerable. This is for everyone. We are a team, and you must remain to the end.”