Cristiano Ronaldo will give new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag no reason to exclude him from his plans if he continues to perform to the best of his abilities, former Netherlands great Marco van Basten believes.
The Portuguese turned in a star performance against Norwich earlier this month and was one of the brighter performers in the Red Devils' loss to Arsenal last time out, as the club limps towards the end of a disappointing campaign.
It has been far from an ideal homecoming for the Portuguese to his former club, and questions have been asked whether he will remain in Ten Hag's plans once the Ajax boss arrives - but three-time Ballon d'Or winner Van Basten believes he can stake his place safely.
"If Ronaldo carries on playing like he did last week [against Norwich] and scores two or three goals in a match on a regular basis, there is no need to take him out of the team," Van Basten told The Rondo Show.
"Ronaldo is a player who does his own thing, but as long as he delivers, you have to give him a place in the team.
"Ten Hag will take into account that he cannot ask the same things physically from Cristiano Ronaldo that he will be asking of an 18-year-old.
"Of course Ronaldo will need to work hard – but I am sure he will work hard because I can see Ten Hag having an influence on him to get him to play how he wants."
Ten Hag warned about media pressure at Man United
Elsewhere, Van Basten warned that Ten Hag must not fall foul of the intense media cycle that follows United through their ups and downs, stressing that he needs to keep a laser-like focus on the task at hand.
"I will give Erik one piece of advice: don’t listen to the media when you start there," he added.
"He will have such a massive focus on his own job, on his work on the training ground and on the team. And when he does that, I am sure he can change everything at United."