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Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick (Picture: MUTV)

Ralf Rangnick insists it is ‘normal’ for former players and pundits to question and criticise Manchester United after Wayne Rooney discussed the club’s managerial search and questioned Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba.

Speaking ahead of United’s trip to Goodison Park to face struggling Everton on Saturday, Rangnick also praised Donny van de Beek but stopped short of guaranteeing his fellow Dutchman that he had a future at Old Trafford.

Red Devils legend Rooney appeared on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football earlier in the week and offered his views on Manchester United’s struggles this season, the club’s search for a manager and the future of superstars Ronaldo and Pogba.

Somewhat surprisingly, Rooney claimed Ronaldo’s Old Trafford return had not been a success and said his former club need to look to ‘younger, hungry players’ as they look to make up ground on Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea following another disappointing campaign.

Rooney also said it would be best for all parties if World Cup winner Pogba left Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of the season, while he backed Mauricio Pochettino to take over the reins ahead of United’s No. 1 target Erik ten Hag.

Asked about Rooney’s comments, and in particular his insistence that United should back youth going forward, Rangnick said: ‘It doesn’t make sense to speak about that [subject] again.

Wayne Rooney offered his opinion on various Old Trafford topics
Wayne Rooney offered his opinion on various Old Trafford topics (Picture: Sky Sports)

‘That former players or pundits are telling their opinions on our current situation is normal, that happens at other clubs as well. But for me and for us the focus is on tomorrow and the next games.’

Rangnick says he has spoken to the board ‘and they know what I think needs to happen in the summer’, but insisted final decision on players would be made by his successor.

That inevitably leaves Manchester United’s fringe and loan players – such as Van de Beek – in limbo as we enter the final few months of the season.

Much was expected of Van de Beek when he completed a £40m move from Ajax in 2020 but the Netherlands international failed to make an impact at Old Trafford.

The 24-year-old was loaned out to Everton in January but he has been unable to change the fortunes of Frank Lampard’s side, who have endured a dismal run to drop into a relegation battle.

Donny van de Beek joined Everton on loan in January
Donny van de Beek joined Everton on loan in January (Picture: Getty)

Asked if Van de Beek has a future at United, Rangnick said: ‘Why not? But it depends on the new manager and the way he wants to play.

‘For Donny, he told me in quite a few conversations that he wants regular game-time in order to qualify for the Netherlands World Cup squad.

‘Again, this needs to be discussed when it is clear who will be the new manager and when they begin to plan the new squad. I will not be the manager next season.

‘It also depends on how you want to play. Do you want to play more possession based or counter pressing, pressing kind of football? It depends on that and what other kind of players are coming.

‘The squad needs to be rebuilt in the summer, that is clear. But again, those are questions that it doesn’t make sense to speak about right now.’

Rangnick, who replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Old Trafford hot-seat in November, added: ‘I like Donny as a player and he had a lot of rivalry in his positions from other players.

‘With a high level of competition, that’s why he didn’t get the amount of game-time and that’s why he asked me and us to give him the chance to go elsewhere.

‘Unfortunately, he was injured in the last couple of weeks and couldn’t play. Tomorrow, he will not be able to play anyway, but, in the next seven or eight games that they have, he will hopefully help them to stay in the league and get as much game-time as possible.’

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Source: Metro Sport

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