Plus, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s wedding costs doubled in the space of a few hours. That will be Jack Grealish…
The early bird
The narrative peddled on the back page of The Sun is really quite something.
‘ERIK TEN HAG gets to work on his squad today – and faces a massive task convincing Cristiano Ronaldo that he can match his ambitions.’
Does he balls. Ronaldo is under contract. And Ten Hag does not have to ‘convince’ Ronaldo of anything. What would be threaten to do if he weren’t convinced? Stop running?
And even if ‘convincing Ronaldo’ was on his ‘to do list’ then it will have to wait because Ronaldo is not due back at training yet; Mediawatch humbly suggests that he might first concentrate on the players he actually has available.
And now we see from The Sun website‘s top story (yes, this is the biggest news in football) on Monday morning that Ten Hag did actually turn up for work. Phew.
‘Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag arrives at 8am for first day of pre-season training as he begins new regime with early start’
Early? What the f*** had he been doing all morning?
Whole of the (honey)moon
During that ‘man turns up to work’ story we read that:
‘A number of United’s international stars will not be in attendance for Monday’s session under the new boss.
‘A large portion of the squad are still on holiday enjoying their extended break following their recent Nations League duty.’
So why the f*** are The Sun pretending elsewhere that ‘Harry Maguire given special permission to jet off on honeymoon by Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag after £250k wedding’?
‘Special permission’ that exactly matches the permission given to every other player who was on Nations League duty this summer, is it? Sounds pretty much the opposite of ‘special’.
‘HARRY MAGUIRE has been given special permission to jet off on his honeymoon by new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag. England star Maguire got hitched to childhood sweetheart Fern Hawkins in a stunning £250,000 ceremony at a French chapel yesterday’ – Sun website, June 26.
‘FOOTBALL star Jack Grealish partied in his pants after jetting to England teammate Harry Maguire’s £500,000 French wedding’ – Sun website, June 27.
Inflation really is a bastard.
‘Jack Grealish made sure to attend England teammate Harry Maguire ‘s wedding just three days after being at former Aston Villa pal Conor Hourihane ‘s bash’ – Mirror website.
Two weddings in three days? What madness is this?
To return to the Ronaldo story, the Mirror website brings us ‘Erik ten Hag’s 5 priorities as Man Utd boss finally links up with players for pre-season’. Finally? They’re one of the first clubs back.
We are told that his very first job will be ‘Getting Ronaldo on side’. Nope. Pretty sure it will be assessing the players actually at the club and Ronaldo is not due back until July.
‘Perhaps Ten Hag’s most pressing concern right now is appeasing Cristiano Ronaldo, who is rumoured to be unhappy at the club.’
Perhaps that’s bollocks. We imagine his most pressing concerns are a) training the players at the club and b) putting pressure on those above to get new signings through the door.
If his first priority was massaging the ego of a fading superstar then Manchester United once again have a massive sodding problem.
His second priority will apparently be ‘trying to lift the doom and gloom from the club’s Carrington training base’. Nope. Pretty sure he will be training players rather than appearing in a f***ing clown suit.
‘The situation surrounding Maguire and the United captaincy desperately needs resolving as soon as possible.’
Desperately? Why is there such an obsession in this country about a piece of cloth? We doubt that this would appear on a top 20 list of Ten Hag’s actual priorities.
Fourth on his list of priorities will be ‘getting transfers done’. Nope. Not his job. If it were, we think it might have come before the captaincy even in tabloid land.
Fifth is ‘blooding the next generation’ so it seems that Ten Hag has returned to pre-season training and none of his first five priorities will be actual pre-season training. The silly sod.
Do Ron, Ron, Ron
Sticking with Ronaldo and the Manchester Evening News has some glorious spin:
‘Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United commitment could change their transfer window’
It turns out that even though the summer at Manchester United has so far been underwhelming, ‘their number seven may have done more for them than any influx of cash could possibly have achieved’. Pretty sure they would prefer the money but carry on…
‘With such a limited time left on his career and with Chelsea plus Bayern Munich reportedly sniffing around him, Ronaldo could have been easily tempted to jump ship. But, as MEN Sport reported on Saturday, United have insisted that the Portuguese ace is not for sale and they are confident they will keep hold of the forward.
‘Should Ronaldo stay that would give United a huge boost, not only on the pitch but also in the transfer window. Ensuring that a player like Ronaldo is content enough to stay at the Reds despite no promise of Champions League football gives Ten Hag a huge green tick next to his name.’
Mediawatch is as bored of saying this as you are of hearing it but Ronaldo is under contract. He cannot just up and sodding leave.
They don’t need him to be ‘content enough to stay’. He is staying. Full stop. Harry Kane would have been ‘easily tempted to jump ship’ last summer and where did that get him?
‘Would he have remained at the club if the Dutchman had not been appointed? It is hard to say but it should hopefully convince some of Ten Hag’s transfer targets that United can still help players achieve their goals.’
It’s really easy to say actually: He would have remained at the club if Manchester United wanted him to remain at the club. Being Ronaldo is not enough to tear up all the usual contract legalities.
‘The likes of Frenkie de Jong and Jurrien Timber, who have reportedly been on the fence about moving to Manchester, will see Ronaldo committing his future to the club as a statement of intent. If one of the greatest of all time can be convinced to stay for the Ten Hag project, surely anyone can.’
Because a man staying to fulfil his contract when he essentially has no choice is exactly the same as persuading somebody else to join. Exactly the same.