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Tom Heaton is part of Erik ten Hag's Man United 'leadership group' , but Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT amid rumours of January exit

Nasir Jabbar

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Tom Heaton is part of Erik ten Hag's Man United 'leadership group' , but Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT amid rumours of January exit

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly NOT part of Manchester United's four-man leadership group.

The 37-year-old has yet to start a game in the Premier League this season and appears destined to leave Old Trafford in January, with widespread reports suggesting he is looking to secure a move in the winter transfer window.

His only starts so far in 2022/23 have come in the Europa League, having failed to secure a move away last summer.

And not only is he increasingly playing a bit-part role in Erik ten Hag's plan but has also lost his senior status within the United squad, according to reports.

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The Telegraph claims that Ten Hag has been aided by four leaders at the club to help him unite a fractured dressing room.

And that leadership group includes captain Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, David de Gea and perhaps the most surprising name on the list is that of third-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

But despite his inclusion, there's no room for Ronaldo.

The report states that Fernandes and Heaton are important figures within the dressing room, having both stepped up to play an important role in the dressing room during last season's turbulent months under Ralf Rangnick.

As for Ronaldo, Ten Hag said the superstar forward is frustrated when he's not playing, but insists he's 'happy' at the club.

Tom Heaton and David de Gea are two influential figures at United. Image: Alamy
Tom Heaton and David de Gea are two influential figures at United. Image: Alamy

"I don't see that he is unhappy," said the Dutchman ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Omonia Nicosia.

"He is happy, he is training well and he is enjoying.

"It has nothing to do with the future, what's happening for January or next year," he added.

"He's not happy that he didn't play Sunday, don't get me wrong, but the question was about his mood in training, where he's happy. Of course, he wants to play and he's p**sed off when he's not playing."

Ronaldo failed to get on the pitch in his side's 6-3 defeat to Manchester City but could return to the starting XI on Thursday.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo

Nasir Jabbar
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