Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has warned Manchester United that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo could be costly in terms of how it affects the development of wonderkid Mason Greenwood.
Ronaldo sealed an emotional return to Man Utd this summer, but has yet to make his second debut for the club. Meanwhile, Greenwood has been on fire at the start of the season, showing once again that he’s one of the most exciting young talents in Europe.
Murphy admits he’s concerned that the presence of Ronaldo could limit Greenwood’s playing time, and that could be a blow for United.
“Although he might have to wait a bit longer than we first thought, with Ronaldo’s signing, he could go on to be a proper legend for United. A proper No. 9,” Murphy told talkSPORT.
“It’ll delay his progression. I thought Greenwood and [Edinson] Cavani, with a sprinkle of [Anthony] Martial, would be the main strikers. Then put Greenwood on the right when [Jadon] Sancho needed a breather.
“Now with Ronaldo coming in there, which isn’t something that was planned for months, it’s something that’s just happened as a gamble for them wanting to win the league.
“It will be at the detriment of some of the other players. It’s keeping that balance of everyone happy. Is Cavani going to get enough minutes? Greenwood is 19 so he’ll suck it up.
“That’s the only negative of the signing, the delay of Greenwood playing more minutes in games.
“You learn by playing over and over, not one in three.”
It certainly seems like slightly short-sighted thinking by United if a 36-year-old overtakes a talented 19-year-old up front, but it’s also hard to turn down the opportunity to bring in a legendary figure like Ronaldo.
It might also prove to be a sensible choice from MUFC if it means Greenwood isn’t thrown into the limelight too early in his career, with some young players taking on too much both mentally and physically before burning out earlier than expected.