Wayne Rooney tells Man Utd to drop Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford vs Liverpool

No United played has scored in the Premier League so far this season
No United played has scored in the Premier League so far this season / Giuseppe Cottini/GettyImages

Former Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford should not be in their starting XI for the clash with Liverpool on Monday night.

United lost both games last season, conceding nine goals across two fixtures to their bitter rivals without netting any of their own, and have made a torrid start to life under new boss Erik ten Hag.

Losses to Brighton and Brentford mean the Red Devils are 20th in the Premier League - their lowest ever placing in the competition - and most punters are backing Liverpool for a comfortable win despite their own indifferent start to the campaign, having drawn with Fulham and Crystal Palace.

In his column for the Times, Rooney wrote: "We should remember that this is only the start of Ten Hag’s reign, that he’ll need time and that he’ll have identified a number of issues to address when the time is right. He clearly wants to see the players he inherited and give them a chance.

"But he also needs to do something quickly and the first priority is, against Liverpool, to just compete and have a go. Do that and the fans will accept it, even if United get beaten. Play like they did against Brentford, and United will suffer an even worse result than their 5-0 defeat by Liverpool last season.

"I don’t expect that to happen, by the way - I can’t see United winning, but I believe there’ll be a reaction and they’ll lose by the odd goal, or even snatch a draw.

"But I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford. If I was in Ten Hag’s position my main concern would be getting energy on the pitch, and United’s failure to recruit a No 9 means they relied on Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained a lot with the team. He looked like he needs time to get match fit.

"He has also let it be known that he wants to leave the club. I don’t know his reasons but, as I wrote in my last column, I’d let him - he’s a great player and will always score goals but the task for Ten Hag is to produce a team that can compete for the title in three or four years’ time. That means rebuilding with younger players.

"As for Marcus, I think he needs to do a lot of soul-searching and figure out what he wants, for his own good, before anything else. Because watching him is a real concern: he looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch. I haven’t seen him smile on the field for a long time. His performances have dipped - he hasn’t been selected by England for more than a year. I’m coming from a place of wanting the best for him. He’s a lovely kid and a local lad who came through the ranks at United, who everyone wants to see doing well.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Erik ten Hag wanting to sign five players before the transfer window closes, and Man Utd's attitude to selling Cristiano Ronaldo. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

"But you look at the difference between Marcus now and when he first came into the team: the passion he showed, the smile on his face when he scored. It’s night and day."

United will take on Liverpool without new signing Casemiro, who won't be registered in time but could instead make his debut next week at Southampton.