Why Ronaldo wears the armband at Villa Park

Sunday 06 November 2022 13:26

Cristiano Ronaldo captains Manchester United in the 14:00 GMT kick-off against Aston Villa.

Club skipper Harry Maguire is on the bench, while Bruno Fernandes is out due to a one-match suspension, imposed for racking up five bookings in the Premier League this term.

There were plenty of candidates for the role but manager Erik ten Hag has opted for the experience of the Portugal centre-forward.

"We have more leaders," the boss told MUTV. "But now Harry Maguire is on the bench and Bruno Fernandes is suspended and not available, and you take a player who has the leadership. The goalie is often far away from situations and has less influence, especially in the opposition half, where we want to play - in the opposition half. 

"Casemiro is not speaking the full English language so we came to Cristiano. He's been doing well in the last two games, keep the process going and he has to be the example."

Erik explains captaincy decision Video

Erik explains captaincy decision

Ten Hag is asked about Ronaldo skippering the side, Garnacho's inclusion and Unai Emery's first game...

"Nothing changed and also when you are captain, a leader, you have to be the example and that's what I expect from him on the pitch," added Ten Hag, in a separate Premier League interview. "So he is an important part of our squad, we’ve said that from the start of the season, and keep saying that, we’re happy with him and now he has to taken even more of a leader role. Harry is on the bench and Bruno is not available because he’s suspended. So it’s up to him, with the other leaders like Casemiro and David De Gea."

Ronaldo first captained the Reds way back in 2008, against Bolton Wanderers, and will look to lead from the front as United seek three important points in the push for a top-four spot.

He did wear the armband during Ralf Rangnick's time in interim charge but this is the first time he has done it under Ten Hag.

The Villa encounter is our penultimate league fixture before the break for the World Cup finals, with Fulham to follow at Craven Cottage next Sunday.

United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Rashford, van de Beek, Garnacho; Ronaldo (c).

Substitutes: Dubravka, Maguire, Malacia, Fred, McTominay, Pellistri, Elanga, Martial, Shoretire.