Bruno Fernandes scored twice against Istanbul side Basaksehir in the Champions League on Tuesday night means that the Portugal star has a total of 34 goals and assists since he joined United in January – more than any other Premier League player during that period. Out of which he scored 21 goals in all competitions. The Portuguese joined Manchester United back in January from Sporting CP for a £68million deal. He proved to be one of the most influential signings for United in recent times. He was even-handed the Captain’s armband because of his command and influence on the field.
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The former Sporting Lisbon playmaker also showed his excellent leadership qualities on Tuesday by giving up the chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot and let Marcus Rashford take a penalty. He deservedly had the chance and every right to take the penalty as he is the designated penalty shooter from the team. But he decided to give the chance to Rashford.
Bruno is the only bright spark after a turbulent start from United in the League. Earlier this year Bruno helped united secure a spot in the Champions League after his glorious debut in a United shirt. He also became the first Manchester United player to win back to back Premier League Player of the Month awards since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006–07 season. Ronaldo spent six seasons at United and fired the club to three consecutive Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy. Manchester United manager boss Ole believes Bruno Fernandes has brought a Cristiano Ronaldo-like presence to the squad since he joined.
When Ole Gunner Solskajaer was asked if Fernandes has a similar presence in the team to Ronaldo, Solskjaer said:
“He does definitely have that presence and influence and impact on team-mates. Just look at results since he came in. He's got energy, leadership, he's a team player and key for us going forward.”
26-year-old has missed just two games for his club namely the wins against LASK in the Europa League in August and the League Cup defeat of Brighton in September. It is a testament to the consistency he has brought and the stability he has added in abundance to the midfield with his 35 appearances to date. He is even the reason why Donny Van De Beek is sitting on the bench. Though Solskjaer believes he could ramp up a system where both of these creative midfielders could play together.
Bruno is a versatile player. He could play as pivots in the midfield or as a holding midfielder. He could play behind the strikers or play in the wings. A player with such utility is a much-valued asset in modern football.
Because of his utility and influence in Manchester United, he is already giving off the vibes of young Cristiano Ronaldo. Bruno has a similar hierarchy with Ronaldo. Both of them came to united after a splendid season at Sporting CP in Portugal. Both of them have started here as midfielders. Eventually Ronaldo turned himself into a winger in United which is surely evident in Bruno’s playing style too. Bruno has the capacity to turn himself into a winger. He got the pace and dribbling capacity. He has an eye for goal. If he works on his physicality like Cristiano, eventually Bruno can transform himself into a formidable winger. But the most important thing about him is his creativity and confidence. He oozes the personality of a leader, missing from the United ranks for a long time. He could be the pillar United is looking for.
He earned the respect of Old Trafford in a very short time for his utmost dedication. It was fellow midfielder Paul Pogba's £89m arrival at the club in 2016 that many viewed as the signing who would help run the midfield given his outstanding performances for Juventus. But it is the new boy Fernandes who has usurped the France World Cup winner as the Admiral in the middle of the pitch and remained the lynchpin of United’s revamp.
Former United winger Nani certainly believes Bruno could be the key to United’s success and have the potential to fill the shoes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The style of his football is something fans appreciate. He is a player who likes to take risks in the game, who wants to take the responsibility of the game on his back and make difficult passes, dribbles, and shots. He doesn't care about mistakes; he only thinks about success and making the team have success. He knows what that takes. That's Man United, isn't it?”
Despite everything Dimitar Berbatov, former Manchester United forward expressed his one concern for Bruno Fernandes. He said, Bruno Fernandes still needs to work on the defensive side of his game. The former United striker argued that Solskjaer had to play a defensive midfielder in order to cover for Fernandes when out of possession. Perhaps this is another reason why Donny Van De Beek had such less game time.
Manchester United Next Match and a Packed Schedule
United go to Southampton on Sunday looking to make it four wins in a row, but Solskjaer is expecting a tough test against a team currently lying in sixth.
“Of course, we want that run to continue but we know how well Southampton have done lately.”
“This is a nice challenge and a good test for the team to see if we learnt our lessons from the games we played against Southampton last season”, Solskjaer added.
Manchester United's delight with Bruno Fernandes' recent brilliance on the field may well be tempered by a packed Christmas schedule on the horizon, provoking increasing fears of fatigue for the club's star man.
But in his nine-month career at Old Trafford so far, Solskjaer appears to be reluctant to allow him any substantial period of rest, such is his prominence among the players.