Manchester United’s Cristinao Ronaldo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Jamie Carragher believes Cristiano Ronaldo may cause more “problems” than he solves at Manchester United.
The 36-year-old has made a sensational start to life back at Old Trafford, scoring three times in his two appearances to date, though the Portuguese was unable to prevent the Red Devils from losing at Young Boys in the Champions League midweek.
And former Liverpool defender Carragher is sceptical about the impact Ronaldo will have on his team’s success this season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed a selection dilemma due to the prominence of the former Real Madrid and Juventus star.
“The broader question for United is whether Ronaldo’s arrival gets them any nearer to being a team that can win the title and Champions League again,” Carragher said in his Telegraph column. “On the evidence of the first few games, albeit they have won three of their first five matches, I would say no. What his arrival alone cannot do is turn United into a title-winning unit or impose the distinctive way of playing they still lack.
“United still look like an ensemble of brilliant individuals in need of being moulded into a collective force. United’s Champions League defeat on Tuesday struck me as a classic example of a coach in a position where he could overthink his selection so ended up making changes in an attempt to keep everyone happy. This might become a recurring problem and is partially a knock-on effect from the Ronaldo deal.
“When fit, he will start as the centre-forward. That means others will have their positions regularly shifted. Coaches like to say that they welcome selection headaches. If you become too concerned about getting players game time, it can have an unsettling impact on the balance of the side and consistency of performances.”
With Ronaldo starting as United’s No 9, Jadon Sancho, signed this summer for £72.9 million from Borussia Dortmund, is now competing with Mason Greenwood to start on the right.
While Paul Pogba’s role also remains unclear, having impressed as a left-sided midfielder initially, before switching back to centre-midfield against Wolves and Newcastle.
Marcus Rashford’s return from injury will provide another option, while Edinson Cavani’s route to starts looks problematic while Ronaldo remains fit and eager to play every game.
A trip to West Ham on Sunday presents an opportunity to bounce back from defeat midweek and more insight as to how Solskjaer will accommodate Ronaldo and the supporting cast moving forward.
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