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05th Apr 2023

‘It’s going to be a choice between Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes in the Man United team’

Robert Redmond

Man United

“It’s going to be a choice between Eriksen and Fernandes in the team.”

In episode two of our new podcast, House of Football, Kenny Cunningham said that Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes may be replaced by Christian Eriksen when the Danish midfielder returns to fitness.

Fernandes has been the Red Devils’ stand-in captain this season, with Harry Maguire relegated to the substitutes bench, and an ever-present in Erik ten Hag’s team.

Bruno’s recent performances, however, have come under scrutiny, as has his on-pitch demeanour.

Cunningham believes that Ten Hag has a ready-made replacement if the Portuguese midfielder doesn’t rediscover his best form.

Cunningham: Eriksen could replace Fernandes in Man United XI.

“When he first came to United, his stats were unbelievable,” Cunningham said about Fernandes.

“Based on the numbers (his goals and assists) alone, (people would have been saying) ‘this lad’s got to play.’ I don’t think that argument is as strong nowadays.”

The 28-year-old experienced an excellent start to life at Old Trafford, but his form has dipped over the last 18 months.

In his first 51 Premier League appearances, Fernandes scored 26 goals and registered 18 assists.

In his last 62 Premier League games, he has scored 15 goals and recorded 12 assists.

Former Ireland captain Cunningham has said that Eriksen could take Bruno’s starting spot in Ten Hag’s team in the final weeks of the season.

The Denmark midfielder is back in training after suffering an ankle injury in January against Reading following a tackle by Andy Carroll.

Christian Eriksen

“An automatic starter? I don’t see that. I think when Eriksen comes back into the team, it’s going to be more of an issue because I’m not too sure United can carry both of those players in that central midfield area,” Cunningham said.

Eriksen and Fernandes with Casemiro alongside them? It’s a little bit of what I spoke about before – physicality in that central area of the pitch and running machines – they don’t all fall into that category.

“Casemiro gives it to you a little bit (of physicality), but Eriksen doesn’t, he’s a ball-playing centre midfielder.

“For me, going forward, it’s going to be a choice between Eriksen and Fernandes in the team, possibly in that number 10 position.”

Bruno Fernandes can be ‘loose in possession’.

The former Wimbledon and Birmingham City defender also said that Bruno can be ‘loose’ with his passing.

“He’s so loose sometimes at times when United have possession,” Cunningham said.

“(He picks up possession in) Deep midfield, out on the wing, full-back positions, getting the ball.

“And I like that to an extent, he takes responsibility, wants to get on the ball and kind of makes things happen.

“But for me, he’s kind of loose in terms of how he operates. You’ve almost got to play him as that 10 behind the striker and protect him a little bit.

“It’s not like he doesn’t work hard enough, but he’s a bit of a headless chicken out of possession. I still don’t trust him when you haven’t got the ball.

“I like the qualities he has in possession, but for me, he actually has to do a little bit more in terms of assists and goals going forward.”

Cunningham was also asked about Fernandes’ on-pitch demeanour and said it’s not an issue as long as the player performs to a high level.

“I don’t mind the moaning thing to a point,” he said.

“But again, as long as you can back it up in terms of performance. You can’t have too many of them. You can’t have a cabal of them! They can’t be influencing the dressing room too much.

“I don’t mind that side to him again, as long as he can back it up. I think that’s where the issue comes in.”

You can catch up on the episode below. The Bruno Fernandes chat starts at around 42 minutes.

Haggling to get into League of Ireland games, Liverpool’s decline and Bruno Fernandes’ moaning. Former Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham joins Eric Lalor for House of Football episode two.

18+ |

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