Erik ten Hag must decide if Cristiano Ronaldo can be thrown into the starting line-up for Manchester United’s opening game against Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
A lack of options in attack means that Ten Hag may have to consider playing Ronaldo or at least putting him on the bench, even though he admits the unsettled Portugal star is not fit.
The 37-year-old is two weeks behind his teammates in terms of pre-season preparation, having missed the club’s summer tour and five friendlies.
Cristiano Ronaldo left the ground early during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano
However, Ronaldo played 45 minutes against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday and is said to have been excellent in training this week.
Although Anthony Martial has led the attack in pre-season, the Frenchman suffered a hamstring strain against Atletico Madrid in Oslo last weekend which is set to keep him out of the Brighton opener and another two games.
Ten Hag could play Marcus Rashford or Anthony Elanga through the middle, and may consider a false nine having used one in a behind-closed-doors game against Wrexham last week.
Erik ten Hag has missed out on a number of key targets this transfer window
Ten Hag, who is facing his first big selection call as United manager, will answer questions on Ronaldo’s availability at a press conference at Carrington today.
The situation highlights the problem caused by United’s failure to replace Edinson Cavani this summer after committing a large portion of their transfer budget to pursuing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Missing out on Darwin Nunez earlier in the summer may prove to be a huge blow for the Red Devils.