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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo is already passing on advice and experience to the youngsters in the Manchester United squad.
The 36-year-old returned to United just under three weeks ago and has scored three goals in his first two appearances, against Newcastle United and Young Boys.
The midweek trip to Switzerland in the Champions League was an ideal opportunity for the likes of Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga to pick the brains of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
But Solskjaer believes Ronaldo’s experience of life at United is also a bonus for the younger members of the squad and he also namechecked Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford as players who could learn from the forward.
“Cristiano has come exactly as we hoped, he knows Man United, he’s been here before, same with Tom Heaton,” said Solskjaer.
“The two of them know the culture, they know what we do, they’ve learnt it here, they’ve come back and they’ve given these young boys glimpses of what you can have in your career.
“They talk to them about their own previous experiences. How we do things here is within the walls and you have to experience it to be able to pass it on, with the career Cristiano has had of course Anthony, Mason, Marcus for that matter, Anthony Martial as well, still young players and they can learn off the best.
“They know the expectations and the circus and everything that happened before the Newcastle game, Cristiano handled it well and the other players handled it really well. It’s what we do. Good players come in and you learn from them but you still want to take their place.”
Ronaldo has started both of United’s games since returning to the club and he will lead the line again at West Ham today, with Solskjaer’s selection decisions made easier by the continued absence of Edinson Cavani.
While Ronaldo is more of a penalty box predator than the electric winger that Solskjaer saw as a teammate more than a decade ago, he hasn’t had to alter training sessions or tactics to accommodate him.
“You know all new players or players coming into the group, you manage them, you manage the training sessions because you have to get used to the way we do things,” he said. “Cristiano has been here before, he knows how we do things and we have not really had to adapt any training at all.
“Tactically he gets what we want from him. It is about getting the best out of the team, not one player. You can say you want the best out of Bruno, you want the best out of Mason, you want the best out of Jadon or Anthony.
“We have got so many players, the whole point is we work together as a team and the stronger the collective, the more chance for an individual to get goals or assists and then we celebrate together after the game.
“Cristiano is a player we wanted in the team when he was available of course.”
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