You’ve got to admire Chris Wilder for his latest comments in what is a stern message to his Middlesbrough squad.
Ahead of the big FA Cup clash against Manchester United, Wilder said (quoted by the Daily Mirror): “Their team sheet will come in the dressing room and it’ll be [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [David] De Gea, [Raphael] Varane, Harry Maguire… let’s not crumble in that process!
“They have some fabulous individuals that can hurt you, and hurt teams around Europe and the Premier League. A huge array of talent to choose from.
“But it is not sightseeing for our players. It is not a shirt-swapping situation. I don’t want people going to Old Trafford to enjoy the visit.”
“If they want a shirt, do it in the changing rooms after. We don’t want to be looking at them all fuzzy-eyed. They are up against a competitor.”
Wilder added: “I want them to play well. To give a good account of themselves and make it a competitive dangerous night for Manchester United.
“If we play well we can do. If not it will be a comfortable night for Manchester United. No one wants that, me included.”
Several players have swapped shirts with Ronaldo over the years and since his sensational return to Old Trafford, he continues to be approached by opponents.