Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has confessed that Cristiano Ronaldo was his fourth option for captain.
Ronaldo was chosen to start the game at Villa Park and was unexpectedly given the captain’s armband.
It is only the second time in his career that he has been given the task in the Premier League.
Whilst Ronaldo failed to live up to the billing of captain, Ten Hag admitted that the veteran was only selected in the absence of better-suited teammates.
Speaking at Villa Park, the Dutchman said: “Harry Maguire is on the bench, our captain of the club. Then it is about David de Gea who is a leader but is a goalie and is far away from the outfield.
“Then Casemiro is the leader but he is not speaking perfect English so then Cristiano is the leader.”
It remains to be seen if Ronaldo is handed the armband again this season following his miserable outing – or indeed retains his place in the starting line-up. United have two more matches to navigate before the enforced break for the World Cup.
They have a rematch with Aston Villa next week in the third round of the Carabao Cup. Before taking on Fulham in the final league fixture.