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06th Mar 2023

Bruno Fernandes should never be allowed to captain Man United again

Callum Boyle

It was an embarrassing display from the skipper

Sunday’s defeat was a dark day in what has been a relatively positive season for Manchester United, and for their regular captain, Bruno Fernandes.

Losing to your rivals always hurts, but by seven (yes, really, seven) goals, that’s just soul-crushing.

Take nothing away from Liverpool, they were excellent. First to every ball, better than their rivals all over the pitch from the first to the last minute.

For Erik ten Hag and United, it was a day to forget but for one player in particular, it was an embarrassment.

The Oxford dictionary says that a captain is: “The leader of a group of people.” Bruno Fernandes was anything but that.

His constant belittling of his teammates and endless whinging has long infuriated opposition fans, but this time, it was United fans and pundits furious with him.

Nothing epitomised his abject display more than his disgraceful attempt to win a free-kick, throwing himself to the floor after Ibrahima Konaté barely even caught him in the chest. To make it even more cringeworthy, he went down holding his face.

Neville and Keane criticise Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes seemingly gave up on the pitch as Liverpool got their seventh. The very least fans of a club expect is effort, especially from their captain.

Gary Neville in particular didn’t handle the Portugal international’s performance well, highlighting the fact that the midfielder even gesticulated to come off.

“Bruno Fernandes is stood in the centre circle with his arms raised saying ‘Why isn’t it me coming off?’ Honestly,” said Neville. “I think some of his behaviour in the second half has been a disgrace.

“Bruno Fernandes can wind you up sometimes because of the way he is, but that was appalling in the second half.” Roy Keane was just as hard-hitting, saying:

“Fernandes’ body language today was nothing short of disgraceful. A really talented boy, he’s your captain, but his body language, waving his arms, not running back, you wouldn’t be happy with him in your dressing room.”

If as a captain, you’re actively giving up and asking to be subbed because things aren’t going your way, what does that say to the rest of your teammates? You’re not up for the fight? You’re not willing to lead by example?

Ten Hag hasn’t got many things wrong during his time at Old Trafford so far, but making Fernandes captain is one of them. His petulance on the pitch transcended through the rest of the team and contributed to their almighty downfall on Merseyside.

Any player who displays that sort of attitude surely can’t be entrusted with the armband again. There are plenty of others in the wing, ready and waiting. Casemiro would have been a better option, even Wout Weghorst would have probably more desirable traits as a leader.

For all we know, it could’ve been a blip but it’s not worth risking it. United have worked extremely hard this season to get to where they are. The title may have to wait for longer, but with the chance to secure a top four finish and two more trophies at stake, Ten Hag can’t afford to take any more risks.

If they are to succeed, it is without Bruno Fernandes as captain.

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