“Set To Start For United” – Ten Hag Has Already Found Ronaldo’s Replacement

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag before the match.

REUTERS/Eva Plevier

Anthony Martial’s encouraging form in pre-season, coupled with Cristiano Ronaldo’s failure to join the Manchester United squad on their tour, has ensured the spot in the first XI for the Frenchman for the start of the new campaign.

Ronaldo has been absent from the club’s pre-season tour due to personal reasons, and has maintained his stance to quit Old Trafford for Champions League football.

Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and PSG have all decided against exploring the opportunity to sign the 37-year-old, whose last hope at the moment appears to be Atletico Madrid.

Before the start of United’s tour, Ronaldo was seen as the only viable striker option available to Erik ten Hag, and an arrival of a back-up to – and eventual replacement for – the Portuguese was expected. However, there aren’t many attainable forwards left in this summer’s transfer window.

Fortunately for Ten Hag, Martial has stepped up in an impressive fashion, scoring three goals in as many friendlies. His overall play has also suited Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford’s game. According to the Telegraph, there has been a “renewed energy” around the forward during pre-season.

It is understood that Ten Hag has vetoed Martial’s departure, with the 26-year-old due to lead the United’s line in their opening Premier League game against Brighton on August 7, irrespective of Ronaldo’s future.

Now it’s up to Martial to make the most of this opportunity and cement his place in Manchester for seasons to come.