Roy Keane, the former United captain, believes the club’s dependence on Ronaldo for goals despite his age is a reflection of the problems at Old Trafford.
And he believes that Ronaldo must shown greater leadership going forward and cut out his histrionics in order to play a valuable role under Ten Hag.
“A top manager will come in and have that conversation with Ronaldo, and say look if I do take you off, you cannot be carrying on with that rubbish [like shaking his head for 15 minutes],” Keane said.
“He needs to be more mature, be more of a leader. Of course you are disappointed when you come off, but sort your maturity out.
“And if he is not buying into that then you say you are not part of my plans. Even Ronaldo has to learn the bigger picture. You have to get hold of him.
“Ronaldo was maybe a short term fix, something for the fans, something for the share price. But United have bigger problems than him.
“I think Ronaldo should be at that club. That is my personal opinion. His body language at the end of the game certainly didn’t suggest he is leaving. His goals, his performances warrant staying at the club. But United have to get players around him, other strikers. The leading goal scorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 and that is not good.
“You might have to have a conversation about when he is going to play, or you are not going to playing week in, week out… I don’t see why you would get rid of a player who scores that many goals.”
United are expected to sign a striker in the summer with Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard due to leave as free agents and doubts over the futures of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood. Marcus Rashford’s future is also under scrutiny, with the England forward again left on the bench on Monday night and Keane questioning if he has lost his hunger.
“I think he has took his eye off the ball, whatever with his off the field stuff,” Keane said. “He doesn’t look like he has matured well enough. At Liverpool I said that he played like a child. He is drifting. These young players get a lot of big money and good luck to them but I think he has lost the eye of the tiger and he is struggling to get it back. When you lose it, it is hard to get it back. He is a talent but he has lost that hunger.”