Tim Sherwood has slammed Erik ten Hag for saying Cristiano Ronaldo ‘was his fifth choice captain’ and told the Dutchman to ‘keep his mouth shut’.
Manchester United were thumped 3-1 by Aston Villa on Sunday, with Ronaldo taking the captain’s armband for the game in the absence of club captain Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.
The club legend failed to inspire his team to victory, hammering a free-kick into the wall, lamenting his frustrations to referee Anthony Taylor throughout and smashing a wild effort into the Holte End, summing up a difficult afternoon for the Red Devils.
Erik ten Hag (left) explained his decision for making Cristiano Ronaldo (right) his captain
Tim Sherwood (pictured) said the United boss should ‘keep his mouth shut’ on the matter
After the match, the United manager explained his decision to give the Portuguese star the responsibility, essentially admitting that Ronaldo has dropped down his captaincy pecking order, with a number of other key players unavailable.
‘Harry Maguire is on the bench, our captain of the club,’ Ten Hag said.
‘Then it is about David de Gea who is a leader but is a goalie and is far away from the outfield.
‘Then Casemiro is the leader but he is not speaking perfect English so then Cristiano is the leader.’
Unai Emery (right) orchestrated the perfect return to the PL with a 3-1 win over Ten Hag’s side
Ten Hag (pictured) explained that Ronaldo was fourth down his captaincy pecking order
It seems, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner who has 145 goals across 346 appearances for the club has slumped down to fifth in the Dutchman’s leadership ladder, with Casemiro, who arrived earlier this summer above him in the 52-year-old’s favour.
Taking aim at the manager’s post match comments, Sherwood blasted Ten Hag claiming he needed to ‘keep his mouth shut’ and not brandish comments about who ranks where in the leadership standings.
‘What basically he’s saying, he was fifth choice isn’t he?’ the former Villa boss said to TalkSPORT.
‘Why he has to justify why he’s given Cristiano Ronaldo the armband, I just don’t know. Just keep your mouth shut.’
The Portuguese forward (left) failed to inspire his team to victory, missing three chances
His fairytale homecoming has been overshadowed by a frustrating few seasons at United, with the 37-year-old expressing his desire to leave the club earlier this summer, having only joined the previous season.
His first stint at the club started under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003 who nurtured the forward, helping him rise to become the greatest goal scorers of all time.
After winning several Premier League trophies and a European cup with the Red Devils, CR7 left for Real Madrid in 2009, where he established himself as their front man scoring 450 goals, before he left for Juventus in 2018.
It’s not been the fairytale return Ronaldo scoring just three goals in 16 appearances this season
Even last season, Ronaldo still showed his quality, netting 24 goals in 38 appearances for the Manchester side, but became unsettled at the club with off-field turmoil and changing room unrest causing concern over his future at the club.
This year things have gone from bad to worse, with Ten Hag playing ‘tough love’ with his superstar striker, phasing him out of the squad after the forward stormed down the tunnel during their 2-0 win over Spurs last month.
And while United had seemed to find a bit of form, having not lost in their last five matches before Sunday’s defeat, Ten Hag blasted his team after the match for their poor decision making, trying to find Ronaldo in the box with ‘stupid’ crosses.
Ronaldo (right) vented his frustrations on the pitch during their 3-1 loss to Aston Villa
‘No, I think it was stupid to do that,’ the Dutchman said, when questioned why his side had looked to cross to Ronaldo so much during the match.
‘We delivered too many quick crosses in from too far away. There was too much forcing and we didn’t have to.
‘We have to find the crosses in the right moments. The right moment was when Christian Eriksen did so in the first half, and the moment was when he found Cristiano in the pocket at the far post. That was the right moment.’
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