‘Unwanted distraction’ - Wayne Rooney claims Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd actions are ‘not acceptable’

The former Manchester United striker has slammed the attitude and behaviour of his old team-mate.
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Wayne Rooney has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions for Manchester United this season have not been ‘acceptable’ and has encouraged his former team-mate to ‘get his head down and work’.

The ex-United striker enjoyed a superb on-field relationship with Ronaldo when they shared a dressing room at Old Trafford between 2004 and 2009. But Rooney, much like Gary Neville, has publicly criticised Ronaldo and said his situation has become a ‘distraction’. Ronaldo refused to come off the bench in last month’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur and subsequently stormed out of the ground, while his future dominated the headlines during the summer and his performances for the Red Devils this term have been well below the impeccable standards he’s set over his career.

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And Rooney, who is currently managing MLS side DC United, has not been impressed with the actions of United’s No.7. Speaking on talkSPORT, Rooney was asked if the Red Devils are a better side with Ronaldo in the team. “I don’t think so,” he responded. “Him and [Lionel] Messi are arguably the two best players of all time and you can go either way with that.

“But I just think the things he’s done from the start of the season, it’s not acceptable for Manchester United and I saw Roy Keane defending him, Roy wouldn’t have said that [when he was a player].

“It’s a distraction Manchester United don’t need with him at the minute when they’re trying to rebuild and for Cristiano, just get your head down and work and be ready to play when the manager needs you. I think if he does that he’ll be an asset and if doesn’t I think it’ll be an unwanted distraction.”

While Rooney was critical of Ronaldo, he reserved more positive words for United manager Erik ten Hag, who he feels has dealt well with the situation and is leading the club in the right direction.

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“Yeah I think Ten Hag has done really well,” said England’s all-time top scorer. “I think he’s come in and stamped his authority on the team and for the first time in two or three years I’m starting to see an identity with Manchester United.

“He’s shown his strength, his character in how he dealt with Cristiano and, at times, the stuff he’s been up to. I think he’s the right man for the job. It will take time but the right direction would be for them to finish in that top four and get Champions League football again.

“I’ve not met him before but I had Steve McClaren at Derby and I’m very close with Darren Fletcher,” Rooney added. “I know what he’s doing and how he’s going about his work. I know the players and the staff are a lot happier than they have been in the last couple of years.”