Despite agreeing with Erik ten Hag’s decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo for Sunday’s game against Brighton, Roy Keane believes it is crucial that they keep him at Old Trafford.
Keane believes it would be foolish to allow Ronaldo to leave without an adequate replacement. He also did not think highly of Martial’s ability to carry out the club’s need for a striker.
“You can’t let Ronaldo go out of the door and think Martial is going to be the answer. Martial isn’t the answer, he’s proven that,” he added. “He’s had a decent pre-season – big deal. But they haven’t got enough options at this time.
Ronaldo, 37, has missed the majority of preseason games, as well as tours to Asia and Australia. He, however, participated in the first half of the friendly match last weekend between Rayo Vallecano and a Spanish team before leaving before the final whistle. That infuriated Ten Hag, who reportedly planned to start the Portugal ace this weekend from the bench.
Additionally, Ten Hag discussed Ronaldo’s situation prior to the season opener.
“He is working really hard to get to the right fitness levels,” he told Sky Sports. “That will take time, it is normal. He started pre-season last week.”
Whether the fans agree with his choice is open to debate but former Red Devils skipper Keane is in no doubt the boss had no option.
“I think it was a pretty straightforward call for the manager,” he said on Sky Sports. “As brilliant as Ronaldo is he’s only had 45 minutes of pre-season.
“I don’t care how well you look after yourself you need more than that over the course of pre-season.
“And I think he’s looking at the players he’s got and, with Brighton at home, still probably thinks ‘we fancy out chances without Ronaldo to beat Brighton’.
“I think there’s issues going on in the background, we’ve a few weeks to look at that before the window closes. But I think from a footballing point of view today was a straightforward call for the manager to make because of the lack of minutes he’s had.”