Christian Eriksen should be on Manchester United free-kick duty even if Cristiano Ronaldo stays - opinion

The arrival of Christian Eriksen means that Manchester United have another contender to battle Cristiano Ronaldo for free-kicks.

Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Alex Telles are other players who are more than capable of scoring from range, although Juan Mata is an option who has recently left the club.

It still feels like United do not make the most of set-pieces and Ronaldo’s free-kick winner against Norwich in April was his first since one he scored for Juventus in 2020 against Torino.

It was his first free-kick goal for United since 2009, a winner at Old Trafford over Manchester City, and United can do better in these situations.

Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images

Eriksen should take more free-kicks than Ronaldo

With so many options in the side, the direct free-kick responsibility should probably be shared around the United team.

Ronaldo has tended to monopolise them since his return, but he did not play in the midweek friendly against Wrexham.

Eriksen did and the Manchester Evening News report he opened the scoring with a direct free-kick, en route to a 4-1 win.

Ronaldo’s knuckleball approach does not have a high percentage success rate and Eriksen should get more free-kicks once the serious stuff starts.

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Whether that will be the case is another matter, with Ronaldo encompassing almost everything up front.

Ronaldo of course wants to leave, but it seems him and his agent Jorge Mendes went public with that without having a new club lined up.

There is not an obvious Champions League suitor for Ronaldo, and he has confirmed he will be playing in the friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford this Sunday.

Eriksen probably will not play in that one, given he is in the squad playing in Oslo 24 hours before, but if he does not get at the very least his fair share of free-kicks this season – if Ronaldo stays – then United will not be making the most of one of his very best qualities.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.