Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag’s decision to drop both Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire from his starting XI at Old Trafford was a big one, but it is paying off, according to journalist Dean Jones.
The Red Devils won their fourth game in a row on Sunday when they beat Arsenal and there is a sense that United are back on track after a tough start to the campaign.
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Sunday afternoon saw United come up against Arsenal, the club with the only remaining 100% record in the top flight, in the North West.
But it was Ten Hag who once again claimed the bragging rights, as a debut strike for summer signing Antony and a brace from Marcus Rashford ensured Bukayo Saka’s equaliser was for nothing in the 3-1 success.
The result took United up into fifth place and just a point behind Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently occupy the final Champions League position.
Things could not have got off to a much worse start for Ten Hag, as his first two matches as United manager ended in defeat to the Seagulls and Brentford.
But consecutive victories against Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and Arsenal have seen a sense of optimism return to the club.
Two players who were nowhere to be seen in the starting line-ups for the victories, however, were club legend Ronaldo and the most expensive defender of all time, Maguire.
What has Jones said on the move?
Jones believes that dropping two such prominent players from his starting XI was a brave choice from Ten Hag.
But he adds that the former Ajax boss is now reaping the rewards, with optimism flooding back to Old Trafford.
When asked about United’s return to form, Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “It’s taken some big decisions along the way. For Ten Hag to basically decide that Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo are not starters in this team is a big shout. But it’s paid off and there’s definitely belief now that United know the way that they’re going to get success.”
Do Maguire and Ronaldo still have a future with the club?
With Ronaldo asking to leave United during the summer window, it would be no surprise if this was the beginning of the end for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Between them, the duo earn a weekly wage of £670,000 and it is a figure some at the club may feel could be moved on.
But there is still a long season ahead, with the rigours of the Europa League to also contend with, and the experience of both stars could yet be key.
Maguire also remains the Red Devils’ captain so it would be a surprise to see him pushed out any time soon.
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