Ralf Rangnick confirmed as Manchester United interim manager
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Ralf Rangnick will create a big problem at Manchester United if he drops Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench on a regular basis during his time in charge of the club, according to former Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor. Rangnick was unveiled as United’s interim manager earlier this week after penning a six-month deal to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.
The German coach will be tasked with steering United back into the Premier League’s top four before moving into a consultancy role at the end of the campaign.
Michael Carrick was placed in temporary charge of the club immediately after Solskjaer’s exit last month and will remain in the Old Trafford dugout for this evening’s match against Arsenal.
Rangnick, who is still awaiting visa clearance despite being in England, is widely expected to oversee his first match as United boss against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
It has recently been suggested that he could end up coming to blows with Ronaldo, who has been criticised as a result of his nonexistent defensive output in recent weeks.
Concerns have been raised over the 36-year-old’s ability to fit into the high-pressing style of play that Rangnick is likely to develop at United.
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Ronaldo has already been named on the substitutes’ bench on a handful of occasions this season, with Carrick opting to drop the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to the bench against Chelsea on Sunday.
However, Agbonlahor has warned Rangnick that he may struggle to get away with overlooking Ronaldo on a regular basis, suggesting that United’s prized asset could decide to retire if he grows frustrated with a lack of regular minutes.
The ex-Villa striker told Football Insider: “If Rangnick has to drop Ronaldo, how will that affect the rest of the squad?
“Ronaldo will be a big voice in that changing room and he won’t want to be on the bench. Rangnick will have a problem if he chooses to leave the talisman on the bench.
“Ronaldo will not accept that, no way. He won’t mind being rested over Christmas when there are two games, three games in a week. That’s different, we all know you have to have rest.
“To not play regularly though, Ronaldo is not that guy. I’m sure Ronaldo would rather retire than be a benchwarmer.
“He’s not that guy, he wants to play every game. It will be interesting to see what happens, he could end up retiring.”
Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure on Sunday as he stormed down the tunnel at Stamford Bridge immediately after United’s match against Chelsea, during which he was introduced as a second-half substitute.
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Carrick’s decision to snub the Portuguese maestro raised plenty of eyebrows before kick-off, but the former Red Devils midfielder has since insisted that it was blown out of proportion by those outside of the United bubble.
“I think them type of discussions get blown up really, a lot bigger than they probably are, when you’re kind of inside the team or the club,” Carrick told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
“Decisions are made for a lot of different reasons and of course certain ones get bigger news than others, but that’s how it was.
“I didn’t see it as being a major decision. It certainly wasn’t within the camp or group, we all got on really well.
“The game went well to an extent and it wasn’t a drama at all.”
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