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Roy Keane has interesting theory on why Rasmus Hojlund has been dropped for Newcastle game

Roy Keane has interesting theory on why Rasmus Hojlund has been dropped for Newcastle game

Keane was "surprised" to see his former club without an out-and-out striker for Wednesday's game.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag sent Sir Jim Ratcliffe a message when he dropped Rasmus Hojlund to the bench for their Premier League clash against Newcastle.

That's according to Roy Keane, who was "surprised" when his former side decided against fielding a recognised number nine for Wednesday night's tie at Old Trafford.

Explaining his decision ahead of kick-off, Ten Hag said: "We want to keep him [Hojlund] fresh. It’s a long season for a young player. You see sometimes his energy levels are dropping.

"We have Brighton and the FA Cup final left. So lots to fight for. Who will play up front? It’s all possible."

Despite his reasoning, however, Keane thinks there was more to the decision that meets the eye.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "Maybe the manager is sending a message to the board that he has not got many options. Sometimes I think managers do that with a couple of games to go to show they need reinforcements.

"Obviously, he is hoping he will be ready for the cup final."

Wayne Rooney, who was also on punditry duty, agreed with Keane's theory.

"I think it’s a message to everyone," he added. "The supporters, the media, to everyone looking in at Manchester United. I think to leave your recognised striker and goal scorer out is a huge call."

Rooney continued: "I think when you look back at the great Manchester United teams, the era when you had Coley [Andy Cole], Yorkie [Dwight Yorke], Teddy [Sheringham], Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer].

"In my time, we had myself, Cristiano [Ronaldo], [Carlos] Tevez, [Dimitar] Berbatov. It’s so strange to see Manchester United now with only one recognised striker."

Compared to Sunday's lacklustre display against title contenders Arsenal, United looked far more threatening.

And with 31 minutes played, Kobbie Mainoo put his side ahead with a tidy finish from close range.

Ten Hag, meanwhile, is under pressure at United after a far-from-convincing campaign but he played down rumours ahead of kick-off.

“A goodbye? For me? It's not how I feel it and not how I see it," he said. “It's not the way I will go to start that lap of honour for the fans, no.”

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports Premier League

Topics: Manchester United, Premier League, Roy Keane, Newcastle United, Rasmus Hojlund