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GARY NEVILLE believes Cristiano Ronaldo should be a leader to Manchester United's young players as he continues to seek a move away.

The 37-year-old remains keen to depart Old Trafford in his quest to play Champions League football.

2Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo is keen to depart Old Trafford this monthCredit: Rex 2Gary Neville has called on former team-mate Ronaldo to be a leader to United's young playersCredit: Getty

After missing the Red Devils' pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to "family reasons", Ronaldo returned to action against Rayo Vallecano last week.

But he left ten minutes before the final whistle in the friendly clash, with fans believing it was a last-ditch attempt at forcing a move away.

Boss Erik ten Hag was left fuming by the incident, as he insisted that it was "unacceptable".

Neville recently called on United to flog Ronaldo for the good of the club.

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And speaking on Sky Sports after Arsenal's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday night, Neville was critical of his former team-mate.

He said: "Is it too much to ask over the next 12 months for him to encourage the young players, be a leader on the pitch.

"Do the interviews when your team win and when your team lose, make sure you set the standards that he always does in training in terms of his performance.

"Score the goals, and let everybody let him leave Manchester with the highest thoughts.

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"This is messy for him, this is messy for the club, this is messy for everybody.

"We want him to stay, we're desperate for him to stay. We just don't like these sagas that drag on.

"They never look good, they always look a little bit sort of distasteful. And I think it needs clarifying, it needs sorting out quite quickly.

"We can't have this going on for another three weeks if you're a Manchester United fan, and certainly if you're Erik ten Hag.

"He does need to be able to concentrate on the whole team, on his performance, on the tactical way of playing.

"He doesn't want to be distracted all the time by the star player - 'Is he going to stay, is he going to go?'"

Despite uncertainty surround his future, Ronaldo could still start against Brighton on Sunday with striker Anthony Martial ruled out due to injury.

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Tags: football premier league united’s young players young players united’s young if you’re cristiano ronaldo manchester united former team mate his performance is he going crystal palace when your team to be a leader be a leader man utd icon gary neville erik ten hag him to stay a move away

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Inside Erik ten Hag’s Man Utd dressing room during Brighton loss… with a VERY different approach to predecessors

ERIK TEN HAG refused to blast his Manchester United flops in his half-time team talk during the dismal defeat to Brighton.

The Dutch manager had a disastrous start to his reign in the Premier League with the 2-1 home loss against the Seagulls on Sunday.

1Erik ten Hag gives instructions to his Manchester United team against BrightonCredit: Getty

But SunSport understands the 52-year-old kept his cool in the Old Trafford dressing room, and did not lay into his flops.

Unlike his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘hairdryer treatment’, Ten Hag went for a “softly softly” approach.

He told his United side – who were 2-0 down at the time – they needed to trust themselves and their team-mates.

The silent dressing room – who feared a backlash at the break – were then issued their instructions for the second-half.

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Ten Hag also told them to forget about their mistakes and show more bravery in the attacking end of the pitch.

He refused to single out anyone, with the whole squad including Cristiano Ronaldo getting behind the team.

The ex-Ajax chief is said to have been frustrated after the match, with his United side unable to make a comeback.


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The Red Devils boss will now work with his squad during training this week ahead of a tricky away trip to Brentford on Saturday.

Ten Hag is understood to be popular among the team with his attitude and refusal to dig out his players.

United face a horror run of home games coming up, including Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.

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