Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has explained his decision to make Cristiano Ronaldo captain against Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Portugal international spent most of the summer transfer window looking for a way out of the club after the Red Devils failed to qualify for the Champions League.
His high wage demands were among the reasons that no clubs, aside from one Saudi Arabian outfit, took a punt on him with Ronaldo accepting he would have to play at least the first half of the campaign at Man Utd.
But Ten Hag has only started Ronaldo in three Premier League matches this season with his fourth start coming against Aston Villa today.
His lack of appearances came to a head a few weeks ago when Ronaldo refused to come off the bench in their 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
Ronaldo was fined and made to train by himself before apologising to Ten Hag and returning to training the next week.
And that is why Ten Hag making Ronaldo captain on Sunday for their clash away at Aston Villa seems a bit strange but the Man Utd boss has his reasons.
“We have more leaders, Harry is on the bench, Bruno is suspended, you take the player who has the leadership,” Ten Hag told reporters.
“The goalie is often far away from the situations, especially in the opponent’s half and we want to play in the opponents half. Casemiro is not speaking full English language yet, then you come to Cristiano, he is doing really (well) the last two games, I hope he keeps that process going.
“When you are captain and leader you have to set an example and that is what I expect from him — he is an important part of the squad, we are happy with him and now he has to taken even more of the leader role.”
Alejandro Garnacho was also selected to start the Red Devils’ match against Aston Villa on Sunday after he scored in a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the Europa League in midweek.
There were reports that Garnacho’s attitude earlier in the season hadn’t pleased Ten Hag but now the Man Utd boss thinks he deserves his Premier League chance.
Ten Hag added: “I think so, Alejandro did really well in two games in the Europa League, now he deserves his position in the Premier League, I’m really curious what will come out. I have faith in them, let’s wait and see how he will do.”
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