Bruno Fernandes has been the heartbeat of Manchester United in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Has there been a more impressive signing by the Red Devils since the retirement of the great Scottish manager?
As a result of his remarkable performance, Fernandes has been officially named new captain of manchester united, The former Sporting Lisbon will take over from Harry Maguire, who has lost his place in the team. The former Leicester City man is likely to leave Old Trafford this summer. However, Maguire has stated that he accepts his poor performances and will try to regain his first team status.
Fernandes, on the other hand, has surprised the entire Manchester United fanbase with his consistency. Under Ole Gunnar Soljskjaer, he first nearly broke Eric Cantona’s records for the number of goals and assists in a full season. However, his statistics overshadowed the poor performance he had put in for the club.
However, under Erik ten Haag, he has become even better. In the 2022/23 Premier League season, he created the most chances of any midfielder. He was also heavily supported by Christian Eriksen, who had an impressive debut campaign with Manchester United. With two creative midfielders in the squad, it is baffling how poor United’s frontline has been in the 2022/23 season with the exception of Marcus Rashford.
Rashford scored 30 goals in all competitions last season, making it his most successful domestic campaign. However, the second highest number of goals scored in the season was scored by Fernandes himself with 13 goals.
Harry Maguire’s nightmare at Manchester United
It was almost as if Maguire was destined to fail as Manchester United captain when Solskjaer handed him the captain’s armband. The former Hull City man came to Manchester United for a whopping £80m. It is currently the world record for the highest fee ever paid for a defender, which will soon be broken by Josco Guardiol at Manchester City.
Maguire was already under immense pressure to deliver at a hefty price. Therefore, giving him a Manchester United armband was the last thing he wanted. The pressure of price and captaincy seemed to be taking a toll on the English defender as his performances took a dip.
Although he secured consecutive Champions League places under Solskjaer, he was part of United’s worst backline in Premier League history in the 2021/22 season. That season, the Red Devils suffered major defeats at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City respectively. Therefore, many believe that Maguire was given the captain’s armband too soon.
He also believes that the England international is best suited to a defensive team, as he cannot play on the halfway line. Maguire’s lack of pace has cost him a number of goals for Manchester United in the 2021/22 season.
Leadership Qualities of Bruno Fernandes
On the other hand, Fernandes has never been under price pressure. He excelled right out of the gate on his debut for Manchester United. In the second half of the 2019/20 season, he scored 12 goals in all competitions.
In recent seasons, several instances have shown Fernandes’ leadership qualities. When Solskjaer announced him as the captain in the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), he was left teary-eyed at the press conference.
Since then, the Portuguese midfielder has been the heart and soul of Manchester United, despite not wearing the armband. In the 2022/23 season, Fernandes played 62 games, which is the record for most games played by an individual in a domestic season. Furthermore, out of those 62 games, he captained the team 42 times, including Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals.
There was a case in the FA Cup semi-final Vs. Brighton, which really showed the difference between Maguire and Fernandes. After a goalless 90 minutes, Fernandes came to the touchline and sent cheers to the entire team. Maguire, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
Fernandes is a demanding individual who will never settle for anything but the best. Since his mentality matched that of Erik ten Haag, it was an easy decision for the Dutch manager. It remains to be seen how United will react to him being named the club’s new first-choice captain.
Although Fernandes is now an official captain, he will share responsibility with a number of experienced individuals at Manchester United. Raphael Varane has been the captain of the Red Devils in the ongoing pre-season tour. The inputs of Casemiro and Lisandro Martínez have also been very important. Marcus Rashford has also emerged as a good leader on some occasions.