Six times Bruno Fernandes has shown he’s Man Utd captain material
As well as being an incredible footballer, Bruno Fernandes has shown his leadership qualities since joining Manchester United.
While Harry Maguire is currently United’s captain, Fernandes has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and led the side during their 2-1 win over PSG.
We’ve looked at six times where the Portugal international has demonstrated his credentials for the armband.
Attacking midfielders are often regarded as lazy luxury players, but Fernandes has helped disprove that stereotype during his time at United.
He works tirelessly and is willing to do the dirty work for the team, regularly covering more ground and making more tackles than anyone else on the pitch.
“Bruno is a very good boy, a very good person,” former Udinese manager Andrea Stramaccioni told Sky Sports. “He is a really hard worker, he’s positive.
“When we were at Udinese he worked a lot and his approach was always positive. He can certainly captain Manchester United, he is a really talismanic player. He is loved by the fans, respected by his team-mates – even from opponents.”
As well as acting like a captain, Fernandes has also won over the United supporters by speaking like a captain.
The midfielder has already earned a reputation for speaking his mind and recently hit back at reports suggesting that he has lost faith in his manager.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about that,” Fernandes told Sport TV. “First it was a discussion with team-mates, as it did not stick, it was a discussion with only one team-mate [Victor Lindelof], as it did not stick now, it is the discussion with Solskjaer.
“I believe it is a way to destabilise the group. What was said is in no way true. I was replaced at half-time, it is true, by technical option. The coach told me that the game was almost over and that we would have a lot of games ahead of us. Got it. I was not satisfied but said nothing that could harm the group.
“Do not use my name, my colleagues or the coach to make trouble at Manchester United. The atmosphere is good and the team is ready to give an answer in the next game.”
Phil Neville on Bruno Fernandes: "When he talks he talks like a Manchester United player, he talks like a Manchester United captain. He talks like a leader, he talks like someone who wants to win. He's a special player." #MUFC
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) November 9, 2020
Part of the job description for becoming the United captain includes being able to wind up the opposition. Just ask Gary Neville.
During United’s 2-0 win over Manchester City in March, Fernandes put his finger to his mouth to tell Pep Guardiola to be quiet after a heated moment on the touchline.
“I talked about this with some friends and some people think: ‘Pep won everything, who is Bruno to diss him?’, but I think it is about respect,” Fernandes told Sky Sports.
“Now, I think outside of the pitch I don’t do this again if I am on the pitch now. But, at that moment the words he told me made me mad, and on the pitch I am a little bit nervous, it is the kind of player I am.
“I have respect for Pep and what he won, and what he did for football because he changed some mentalities in football. But, at that moment he didn’t respect me and so he didn’t deserve my respect at that moment on the pitch.”
Bruno Fernandes shushing Pep Guardiola is what the Manchester derby is all about 🤣 pic.twitter.com/kvzwivmGBC
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 8, 2020
Setting high standards
While some players may be intimidated after walking into the United dressing room, Fernandes isn’t afraid to call out his team-mates on the pitch if they are underperforming.
The midfielder can be regularly seen organising and cajoling players during games and even berated Victor Lindelof for his poor defending against Sevilla.
“Bruno is an excellent choice because since he’s come to the club, he has given United what they were lacking,” former United assistant manager Rene Meulensteen told talkSPORT.
“Some urgency, he plays with conviction, he plays with authority, he drives other players on. He’s a positive influence every time he steps on the pitch – and he’s not afraid to tell players when they don’t meet the standards.
“He’s got high standards about himself because you can see if he does miss a pass, he gets annoyed with himself and he will be the same with other players.”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 16, 2020
Never satisfied with a point
A point away at Southampton is creditable, especially when you’ve been two goals behind.
But having scored and assisted to get United back on level terms, the Portuguese’s thoughts immediately turned to finding a late match-winner as Edison Cavani ran to the corner to celebrate his equaliser.
Another demonstration of the mentality that’s already made him such a fan favourite, he beckoned his team-mates to get back to their own half in order to go and find the late winner.
And sure enough they, in injury time, they completed their three-goal comeback.
After Cavani scored the second goal, all of the players went to celebrate only Bruno Fernandes who doesn't celebrate with the team, He rather asked them to come back in to score the third goal.
What a mentality this player has! 🧠 pic.twitter.com/CSsQT7lCoo
— BF 18 (@FernandesThings) November 30, 2020
Carrying the team
When you think of a captain’s performance, Roy Keane’s selfless display against Juventus in the 1999 Champions League semi-final immediately springs to mind.
Captain’s need to lead by example with their performances on the pitch and Fernandes has been a constant source of inspiration since joining United.
The Portugal international arrived at Old Trafford in dire circumstances, with the team struggling for confidence and sitting well off the top four in the Premier League.
He immediately transformed United’s fortunes, helping the club secure Champions League qualification with eight goals and seven assists in his first 14 Premier League appearances.
The 26-year-old never hides when things aren’t going well, regularly grabbing games by the scruff of the neck and turning them back in United’s favour.