By Ben Dinnery

13th Aug, 2022 | 11:00am

Expert: Man United chiefs backed to force Cristiano Ronaldo decision after new twist

Erik ten Hag will be facing pressure from stakeholders at Man United as he prepares to decide whether to hand Cristiano Ronaldo his first start of the season.

That is the view of medical expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in injury and data analysis.

Ronaldo, who has reportedly asked to leave Old Trafford this summer, played 37 minutes on Sunday (7 August) as Man United fell to a 2-1 opening day defeat against Brighton.

The 37-year-old did so despite playing just 40 minutes of action during the Red Devils’ warm-up matches – after he missed the club’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

Speaking after the loss against Brighton to Sky Sports, Ten Hag insisted Ronaldo’s minutes will have been valuable – and claimed the striker will be “better” next weekend after a full week of training.

Dinnery told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think this is where return to play decisions are rarely taken in isolation – they’re rarely black and white.

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“There are always pressures, from stakeholders – for example. When you have Christian Eriksen leading the line against Brighton, and you’re getting beat at home – questions will be asked.

“Ronaldo will have another week after his minutes last week, 10 days of training before that as well. Certainly, I think Ten Hag will be under pressure to start Ronaldo.

“There are still question marks over the fitness of Anthony Martial, but I would suggest Ronaldo is in pole position because of that match sharpness.

“Ten Hag will be wanting to get that first Premier League win under his belt, and if you have a player like Ronaldo – the likelihood of doing that is increased.”

In other news, pundit tells Man United to forget Cody Gakpo after Sky update.