Patrice Evra praises three decision Erik ten Hag has made at Manchester United
Former teammate Patrice Evra has told Erik ten Hag he needs to have a clear-the-air conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo given the 37-year-old is clearly not a first choice starter right now.￼
The superstar has started United’s past two Europa League matches by virtue of injuries to Antony Martial and Marcus Rashford, scoring his first goal of the season in last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol. But Ronaldo has started just one Premier League game this term — the 4-0 loss to Brentford.
United club captain Harry Maguire has also been benched for every league match since that humiliating defeat. Both players have been called up to their national squads for this week’s Nations League fixtures but their futures at Old Trafford look uncertain.
Evra also pointed to the decision to swap Luke Shaw for Tyrell Malacia as a move that Ten Hag should be commended for. “He dropped the captain, he put Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, he gave the left-back Malacia an opportunity and that was a massive statement,” he told Betfair.
“Things changed with a few players, it’s not because they were playing that bad, but around those players there was a lot of negativity, and sometimes you have to get rid of this negativity. He had the courage to do it.
“With those big decisions Ten Hag sent massive shockwaves. He’s right, but you have a manager and you have to respect his decision.”
Touching on the decision to discard Ronaldo from United’s first choice XI, Evra believes that both the player and Ten Hag ought to hold frank talks. He added: “I understand the frustration of Cristiano Ronaldo, but also Ten Hag was like ‘I’m going to start a new era, Ronaldo is still in my plan,’ and I’m sure Cristiano Ronaldo is in his plan.
“I think Ten Hag and Ronaldo need to, if they haven’t already, have an honest discussion. Everything that is happening right now is logic.”
Evra also outlined his sympathy for Maguire for being snubbed although noted the classy performances of preferred duo Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane. He said: “The captaincy is always a big issue, especially when you play for Manchester United.
“To drop the captain is a massive statement. This is more important than Cristiano Ronaldo or whoever. It must be hard for Harry Maguire.
“People have been unfair with him, because even now when he plays a good game people will criticise him, even when he’s not playing if we lose people will blame him and this is unfair.
“Right now, they have Varane, Martinez and the way they are fighting, giving everything, I’m really pleased with what I see.”