Wayne Rooney has told Erik ten Hag not to face former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo against Liverpool on Monday night.
Rooney urged the United manager to put some energy on the pitch which would mean dropping the 36-year-old for the game.
Via The Times, Rooney said: “I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford.
“If I were Ten Hag, my main concern would be having energy on the pitch, and United’s failure to sign a number nine meant they relied on Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained much with the team.
“He looked like he needed time to get in shape. 10 Hag needs energy from his side and that may mean letting Ronaldo down.
Rooney also described United’s 4-0 thrashing of Brentford last weekend as “difficult to watch”, saying he had “never seen Manchester United so lacking in those basic qualities”.
“The football has developed tactically and improved technically during my time in the game, but the basics don’t change,” Rooney said.
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“If you don’t run, if you don’t make an effort, you can lose against any team. I have never seen Manchester United so lacking in these basic qualities. Their pounding by Brentford was hard to watch.
“If this had happened to any of the United teams I played for, I think the fans, the journalists and all the other teams in the country would have been shocked, but people weren’t with that team. The most worrying thing is that neither the result nor the performance surprised me.
Rooney praised Ten Hag for criticizing his players after their humiliating loss to Brentford.
“Erik ten Hag was right to call the players and talk about being hungry, and it was fair enough for him to have them take part in extra training, where he asked them to run the same distance Brentford had them. overwhelmed,” Rooney said.
“Ten Hag will have done a lot of soul-searching this week and will make a lot of demands to get a reaction from his players, I’m sure.
“But with this group, it’s been happening for so long that changing their ways is going to take something drastic. They are emotionless – there is no character, no heart in the team.
“I’m not talking about all the players. Harry Maguire will always try, Fred will always try and Scott McTominay may not be Paul Scholes or Michael Carrick but he will always come out and show balls. These three tried to lift the group, but it’s up to the individuals to take responsibility.
“As for Marcus, I think he has to do a lot of introspection and figure out what he wants, for his own good, before anything else. Because watching him is a real concern, he looks like he wants be anywhere except on a football field.
Rooney added: “Watching United, I see players throwing their arms up and shouting at their team-mates but I don’t see them talking or looking at each other before blaming others. I see them making eye-catching runs to shut down the goalkeeper, but not 50-yard runs to stop an attack.
“I see them going up to the crowd after the game apologizing or going out on social media with all the crap: ‘We’re still going.’ The fans see through that. My message would be: stop apologizing, carry on your job – and work. That’s all the fans want. They want to see them take responsibility within 90 minutes.
United lost their first two games of the season to Brighton and Brentford and face them in a tough game against long-time rivals Liverpool on Monday.
United lost 5-0 in the same game last season, which was rearranged due to protests against club owners, the Glazer family.
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