Man United brought in Bruno Fernandes last year in January and from the very first match, the Portuguese has been the fulcrum in the team’s starting XI.
Fernandes has had an enormous impact at Man United and many people have also started comparing his influence to that of Eric Cantona. But according to former Man United fullback Gary Neville, this abundance of talent from the 26-year-old is causing headaches for Ole Solskjaer.
“I don’t think anybody could think one person would have the impact on this Manchester United team [he has],” Neville told Sky Sports on Wednesday, as quoted by Football365.
“We all thought we’d need four or five players yet, with him in the team, they feel unbeatable. Without him they’re nowhere near as good. The one problem Ole has is he can’t rotate him. In any game that matters he has to play.
“They can’t play without Bruno (Fernandes). I don’t know what it is, he’s a very good player but you’d think that Van de Beek and Pogba, McTominay in midfield with Greenwood, Cavani and Martial would be able to do so much better than that.
“The minute Bruno comes on – and Marcus Rashford as well who probably had a bigger impact yesterday – but Bruno’s impact on the team is huge. You can’t compare Bruno to Harry Kane but you know Kane has an influence on his team that’s bigger than just his performances, which are excellent.
“Bruno is exactly the same with this Manchester United team and he’s only been there a short amount of time. As soon as he came on, they seemed more arrogant, more connected, more cohesive. I don’t know what it is when he doesn’t play.”
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This season, Bruno Fernandes has played in 16 Premier League games for Manchester United, scoring 11 goals and providing seven assists. And we can’t help but agree with Gary Neville that without the playmaker, Man United look just like a middle table side.
With games coming thick and fast any other player of his calibre would be tactfully used but Solskjaer just does not have the luxury of keeping Bruno Fernandes on the bench.
Manchester United take on Watford in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup on Saturday and most pundits think the manager will drop Fernandes to the bench for this one. But after that 2-0 loss to Man City in midweek, it will not be a total shocker if the Portuguese is once again selected in the starting XI, in place of Donny van de Beek.