Paul Ince Exclusive: ‘It’s become all about Ronaldo’
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Paul Ince Exclusive: ‘It’s become all about Ronaldo’

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince feels that Red Devils' star Cristiano Ronaldo is “a bad example” to the young players at the club. Ronaldo made a sensational return to Old Trafford from Juventus on deadline day of the summer transfer window and has scored 15 goals in 28 appearances across all competitions. However, United have not enjoyed a successful season despite the 37-year-old's return – sitting 17 points behind table-toppers Manchester City and out of both domestic cup competitions. Ince has criticised Ronaldo's body language and thinks that there is too much focus on the Portuguese as an individual, rather than the team as a collective.


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Ronaldo A Bad Example

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “This is not the Ronaldo of 19 years ago when he was first at Old Trafford – this is a 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“When people said he’d be great for the club and the youngsters, you’d have thought that would be the case. 

“But he’s walking off down the tunnel and throwing his toys out the pram. For me that’s a bad example. 

“This is someone at the end of his career and if he can’t start against Burnley, who are bottom of the table, there’s something seriously wrong. 

“It should be about the team, but it’s now become all about Ronaldo.”

Sancho Needed Time

Jadon Sancho arrived from Borussia Dortmund in the same window as United’s No.7 but has only just started making a significant impact, managing just two goals and two assists in 21 league games – and Ince thinks the 21-year-old initially struggled to adapt to the Premier League.

“When you go to Germany and play for one of the big clubs like Dortmund, it’s not as [difficult] as the Premier League,” he explained. 

“They’re beating teams 3-0 or 4-0 and Sancho’s getting two goals and doesn’t have to track back. It’s pretty easy for him, unless you’re playing against Bayern or one of the top teams. 

“The Premier League’s different and you don’t get as much time – and I know that because I played in Italy. 

“It was a big move for Sancho. When I first came to United I was 21 and it takes time to find your feet as a young kid. 

“It didn’t help that at the start of the season he was playing left wing. He might have lost a bit of confidence, but the fans have always been great with him. 

“You need a good team around you that’s performing well. The last two games he seems to have grasped it, and he will get better. It’s not his fault he cost £75m. He’s got plenty of years ahead of him.”

Another United attacker enduring a difficult campaign is Jesse Lingard, who has played fewer than 400 minutes in all competitions after a successful loan spell at West Ham last term. 




Lingard's Future Elsewhere

Ince believes the 29-year-old’s future lies elsewhere, saying: “I don’t see a future for Lingard at United.

“Jesse did ever so well at West Ham and Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] said he was part of his plans this season. 

“He got kind of hoodwinked into the idea that he’d play more minutes for United, but that didn't pan out. 

“He’s coming to the end of his contract and there’ll be loads of clubs looking at a player of that class. 

“It might be a case of another manager coming in at United and offering him another contract, but at the moment it’s disappointing for Jesse. 

“He’s stuck on the bench and in the stands and not getting enough game time.”

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V: 1.20.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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