Watch: Keane questions Ronaldo absence from Man Utd squad

Nottingham Forest coach Roy Keane before their draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, February 2019.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the subject of all the pre-match headlines after being left out of Manchester United’s squad for the derby against Manchester City – and United legend Roy Keane didn’t buy the official explanation of a hip injury. 

Ronaldo was a shock absentee from arguably United’s biggest game of the season to date.

And, with Edinson Cavani also absent from the matchday squad and Marcus Rashford on the bench, United’s attack did not feature an out-and-out striker.

Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga and Paul Pogba operated in the forward areas during Sunday’s match and former United captain Keane was sceptical of the reasoning behind Ronaldo’s absence.

Speaking ahead of kick-off on Sky Sports, Keane believed something about Ronaldo’s absence “doesn’t add up”.

“It’s a surprise to hear Ronaldo has a hip injury but United have pace, quality. Elanga is a really good, positive player who makes intelligent runs.

“There seems to be more to the Ronaldo story when a manager comes out and talks about a hip flexor. I don’t get it.

“We talk about Ronaldo being a machine and very rarely getting injured but every now and again he comes out with that… a hip flexor? It doesn’t add up to me.”

Fellow pundit and ex-United star Gary Neville argued that Ronaldo’s absence could be a positive for United.

“United over the last three or four years were a counter-attacking team, really comfortable sitting back punching out on the break and that will be exactly the same,” he said before kick-off.

“Cristiano not being in the team, I could never say it’s a positive, but I don’t see it as a big loss that I might do in other games.”

It is just the second Premier League game 37-year-old Ronaldo, who has scored just one goal in his last 10 appearances, has missed since rejoining United this season.

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