Gary Neville cites treatment of Lisandro Martinez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire to praise Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag
The former United defender and now pundit, while speaking to Sportsmail as quoted in the Daily Mail, was full of praise for the Dutch manager.
“Ten Hag has come out of a very, very difficult period very well. I think that his handling of Martinez, when he was coming under pressure after Brentford, his handling of Maguire and the Ronaldo situation – big personalities and characters – has told us he is not going to shirk the big decisions.”
Neville is not wrong in his assessment. Martinez joined the Reds this summer and came under huge scrutiny for his height and performance in the 4-0 thrashing by Brentford in August.
The 24-year-old has since then turned his season around. He has established himself as a first-choice centre-back along with Raphael Varane at the back. The Argentine has stepped up in big matches and was fantastic against Arsenal and Liverpool in the process.
Such good performances from him have led to Maguire finding a place on the bench this season. The 29-year-old is still the captain of the club but is not a regular under Ten Hag – which is a big decision to make in your first few months as the manager of the club.
Maguire has been under scrutiny ever since making the big-money move to Old Trafford from Leicester City in 2019. While he remained a first-choice defender for the previous coaches, under the Dutchman the England international has featured only five times in all competitions this season.
But the biggest shock was the axing of Ronaldo. The 37-year-old wanted to leave the club this summer, however, no move could materialise. The Portuguese international did not even travel with the squad for their pre-season tour citing family reasons.
The five-time Ballon D’or winner has only started one Premier League game this season, while he has been a regular in the Europa League, starting all four games in that tournament. He is slowly finding his form too but still looks far from becoming a regular.
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There is no arguing that Ten Hag has been doing a phenomenal job at the club. Results have been in favour of the club and fans will hope that it continues that way. While Martinez is likely to start against Newcastle United later today, Maguire and Ronaldo may find a place on the bench again.