‘Just get your head down’ – Wayne Rooney criticises Cristiano Ronaldo’s behaviour at Manchester United and praises boss Erik ten Hag for handling of superstar and changing mood at Premier League club

    Wayne Rooney believes Cristiano Ronaldo is at risk of becoming an ‘unwelcome distraction’ at Manchester United.

    Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Old Trafford legend Rooney insisted his former teammate’s behaviour has been unacceptable this season.

    Rooney and Ronaldo starred together at Old Trafford for many years – but Rooney isn’t impressed with Ronaldo’s recent behaviour

    getty

    Rooney and Ronaldo starred together at Old Trafford for many years – but Rooney isn’t impressed with Ronaldo’s recent behaviour

    Ronaldo stormed out of United’s game against Tottenham in October, walking down the tunnel before the final whistle after he was left on the bench as a substitute.

    It is not the first act of petulance from the 37-year-old since Erik ten Hag’s arrival as manager in the summer.

    Former United captain Roy Keane has been among those defending Ronaldo, insisting he understands his frustrations.

    Rooney, though, says the five-time Ballon d’Or winner needs to knuckle down and accept his role under Ten Hag.

    Asked on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast if Manchester United are a better team with Ronaldo in the side, Rooney responded: “No, I don’t think so.

    “Him and Messi are arguably the two best players of all-time and you can go either way with that, whatever way you decide.

    “But I just think the things he has done from the start of the season, it is not acceptable for Manchester United. I’ve seen Roy Keane defending him. Roy wouldn’t accept that. Roy wouldn’t accept that at all.

    “It is a distraction which Manchester United don’t need at the minute, trying to rebuild.

    “For Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. If he does that, he will be an asset. If he doesn’t, it will become an unwanted distraction.”

    Rooney has been disappointed with his former teammate

    Rex

    Rooney has been disappointed with his former teammate

    Ronaldo was dropped by Ten Hag for the Chelsea game in October after his Tottenham walk-out.

    Rooney has been impressed by the way the Dutchman has handled the situation, and feels he is doing a good job at United.

    The five-time Premier League title winner and United’s record goalscorer still has close ties to the club and claims the mood around Old Trafford has been transformed under Ten Hag.

    “I think Ten Hag has done really well,” he told talkSPORT Breakfast.

    “He’s come in and stamped his authority on the team, and for the first time in about two or three years I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United which I haven’t seen in the last two of three years.

    “He’s shown his strength and his character with how he dealt with Cristiano [Ronaldo] at times with the stuff he’s been up to.

    Ronaldo has had to get used to a place among the subs this season and has fallen out with his manager a few times

    Rex

    Ronaldo has had to get used to a place among the subs this season and has fallen out with his manager a few times

    Ronaldo, though, will now be focused on Portugal’s World Cup campaign and impressing national boss Fernando Santos

    Getty

    Ronaldo, though, will now be focused on Portugal’s World Cup campaign and impressing national boss Fernando Santos

    “He’s the right man for the job. I think it will take time but it’s a real step in the right direction to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.”

    When asked if he’d spoken much to the new Red Devils boss, Rooney said: “To be honest, I haven’t met him.

    “I had Steve McClaren at Derby [whose gone to Manchester United] who I know well and has gone in there, and I’m very close with Darren Fletcher so I know what he’s doing and how he’s going about his work.

    “I know the players and staff are a lot happier than they have been over the last couple of years.”

    Ronaldo, meanwhile, is still in the good books of Portugal head coach Fernando Santos and has been included – as expected – in the national side’s World Cup squad.

    “Once again, ready to raise the name of Portugal very high,” he wrote on Instagram. “There are 26 names on Mister Fernando Santos’ list, but we’re all summoned! Go Portugal!”

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