Roy Keane believes Erik ten Hag can use Cristiano Ronaldo's exit saga to his ADVANTAGE in stamping his authority on Manchester United... with ex-Red Devils midfielder keen to see former side focus on 'bigger picture' 

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Roy Keane believes Erik ten Hag can use Cristiano Ronaldo's exit saga to his ADVANTAGE in stamping his authority on Manchester United... with ex-Red Devils midfielder keen to see former side focus on 'bigger picture'

  • Roy Keane said Erik ten Hag should use Cristiano Ronaldo's exit to his advantage
  • Ronaldo wants out of Manchester United in favour of Champions League football
  • Keane said it will take 'two or three years' for United to be title contenders 

Roy Keane believes Erik ten Hag can show his long-term authority over Manchester United with the way he handles Cristiano Ronaldo and letting him exit from the club.

Ronaldo has wanted away from the Red Devils all summer, and former United skipper Keane says the way Dutchman ten Hag handles the situation will be critical in asserting his dominance in his first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo has played just 45 minutes of pre-season football for United, as the Portuguese star tries to escape from Manchester in favour of Champions League football.

Roy Keane said new boss Erik ten Hag should use the Cristiano Ronaldo saga to his advantage

Roy Keane said new boss Erik ten Hag should use the Cristiano Ronaldo saga to his advantage

Roy Keane said new boss Erik ten Hag should use the Cristiano Ronaldo saga to his advantage

Keane told Sky Sports: 'We don't know about Ronaldo's behaviour like now in terms of when he's back in the building.

'Missing pre-season for family issues, if that's the case then so be it. If he has downed tools, then that is unacceptable.

'But I don't think it's such a big deal as everyone's making out. Ultimately when you're a manager, you don't go looking for trouble, trouble comes your way. So this has come to the manager, it's in front of him. He's got to deal with it.

'But I think he can put a marker on it, say it's Ronaldo in the next week or two and if he's got takers and the deal works for United, you might want some money back. But if you go to Lisbon, then off you go.

Ronaldo has asked to leave Old Trafford in search of Champions League football this season

Ronaldo has asked to leave Old Trafford in search of Champions League football this season 

'Then the other players are looking going "OK, short-term we'll miss him, but in the bigger picture, we're trying to rebuild".

'Man United really aren't going to be competing for league titles for two or three years.'

Ronaldo could be in line for a starting position in ten Hag's opening Premier League fixture at home to Brighton, due to the absence of the injured Anthony Martial.

However, in the pre-game press conference covered by MailOnline, ten Hag said he was unsure if the Portuguese star would feature against the Seagulls, but defended him after he was singled out for criticism for leaving a friendly early.

Ten Hag has not decided if Ronaldo will start on Sunday, but defended the star from criticism

Ten Hag has not decided if Ronaldo will start on Sunday, but defended the star from criticism 

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