Ten Hag has four reasons to give Fernandes permanent Man Utd captaincy
Erik ten Hag comments on Man Utd's January transfer plans
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Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes is continuing to excel as temporary captain following his side’s 2-1 win over Manchester City on Saturday. The Portugal international played a key role as the Red Devils overcame their noisy neighbours to claim all three Premier League points. There’s even talk of a genuine title challenge this term, something that’s rarely happened in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Fernandes started United’s win over City on the right of Erik ten Hag’s attack, with Anthony Martial down the middle and Marcus Rashford on the left.
Yet it wasn’t until he moved back into his preferred role of No 10 that he was able to operate at the peak of his powers.
Fernandes drew United level against City, albeit in controversial circumstances, striking past Ederson to bring Old Trafford to it’s feet.
And he joined in the celebrations at full time after Marcus Rashford’s winner sparked joyous scenes around the old arena.
Fernandes is only United’s vice-captain but, with Harry Maguire regularly overlooked, now warrants the armband on a permanent basis.
Express Sport now takes a look at four reasons why Ten Hag should change things up.
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Player in form
Fernandes, by his own admission, doesn’t score or assist for United as regularly as when he first joined the club.
But as his stats have dropped, his footballing intelligence and overall ability has risen – with the Portugal international still as vital as ever.
Fernandes is a player in form and, from his last 10 outings for club and country, has five assists and three goals to his name.
Ten Hag values the former Sporting Lisbon star, knowing United are far stronger with him in the team than without.
Compare that to Maguire, who doesn’t start often in the Premier League these days, and it’s like night and day between the pair.
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As mentioned above, Maguire has endured a remarkable fall from grace at United.
The warning signs were there under Ralf Rangnick last term but, even in the time since the German’s departure, he’s continued to struggle for regular action.
Maguire is now behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and even Luke Shaw when it comes to his manager’s pecking order.
Fernandes, however, is a guaranteed starter.
He was even before the recent injury to Donny van de Beek, who is the only genuine competitor when it comes to the No 10 position.
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United playing well with him
With Fernandes as United’s captain, for most matches, the Red Devils have got their mojo back.
They’re currently in fine form, winning nine games on the bounce to spark hopes they can finally end their wait for the league crown.
As the old saying goes: If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing.
United have often been inconsistent since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, blowing hot and cold under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the years since.
That’s not the case anymore. Right now, at the current moment in time, they seem to be back.
Maguire was promoted too soon
Solskjaer signed Maguire because he thought the England international would be a huge asset at Old Trafford in 2019.
Months later, the former Leicester defender was given the captaincy following the departure of Ashley Young.
But Maguire was promoted too soon. It was evident at the time – and even more so now.
The 29-year-old needed easing into life at United and could have done without the added pressure of the armband at one of the biggest clubs on the planet.
Solskjaer made the wrong call, and it’s a decision the United defender has found tough to live with in the years since.
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