Man United concerned over Fernandes' suitability as captain

Manchester United are CONCERNED over Bruno Fernandes’ suitability to become permanent captain when Harry Maguire leaves, with many – including his team-mates – frustrated after his petulant display in 7-0 defeat at Liverpool

  • Bruno Fernandes was heavily criticised for a petulant showing against Liverpool 
  • The Man United captain downed tools in the humiliating 7-0 loss to their rivals 
  • There are concerns over his suitability in the role as captain of Man United

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ claims to become permanent captain are under a cloud amid internal skepticism over his suitability for the role.

The Portugal international has been heavily criticised for his latest petulant showing in Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 loss at Liverpool, during which there were a series of instances that have portrayed the 28-year-old in a negative light.

But concerns over whether he is the right man to lead the Erik ten Hag era in the long-term were apparent well before the weekend embarrassment on Merseyside.

Fernandes has led the team as a result of the marginalisation of current club captain Harry Maguire, who has spent the majority of the season on the bench.

Maguire is set to leave Old Trafford this summer in a move that would see the role as full-time skipper become available.

Bruno Fernandes produced a petulant showing as Man United were humiliated by Liverpool

Many at United – players included – were irritated by Fernandes’ behaviour on Sunday 

There is internal skepticism over whether Fernandes is the right man to be captain for the Red Devils under Erik ten Hag (pictured) following the embarrassing defeat by Liverpool

Given he has worn the armband in the central defender’s absence, Fernandes will be a contender to become permanent leader ahead of the 2023/24 campaign if, as expected, Maguire departs.

However, sources close to United have indicated there are reservations inside the United camp over whether Fernandes has the right attributes to take on the position.

Many at United – players included – were irritated by Fernandes’ behaviour on the pitch on Sunday.

The manner in which he appeared to head towards the tunnel at the full-time whistle without acknowledging the remaining United fans is understood to have been received with particular negativity.

Eventually central defender Raphael Varane implored his team-mates to recognise the away supporters at Anfield.

A number of other episodes involving Fernandes on Sunday drew criticism of his behaviour.

The 28-year-old went down clutching his face in the second half even though replays showed that Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate’s trailing left hand caught him in the chest.

Fernandes clutched his face when Ibrahima Konate caught the midfielder in the chest

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville branded Fernandes ‘a disgrace’ for questioning why he wasn’t being taken off when Ten Hag made more changes late in the game, although club sources last night claimed that he was actually asking whether he should play through the middle or on the right flank when Anthony Elanga was coming on for Marcus Rashford.

Fernandes was also criticised for giving linesman Adam Nunn a push in the back, with Sportsmail pundits Chris Sutton and Simon Jordan among those calling for him to be punished.

However, the FA confirmed that he will not face action over the incident because it was spotted by referee Andy Madley and his assistants and was not included in their report.

The FA, who recently wrote to all clubs reminding them of the responsibilities of all participants following a spate of incidents this season, will only take retrospective action if it is a clear sending-off offence and is deemed to have been missed by the match officials.

The apprehensions over Fernandes’ apparent position as captain-in-waiting pre-dates Sunday’s loss at Anfield amid a sense that his constant whinging and general manner on the field is not befitting of a United skipper.

It remains to be seen whether Fernandes will retain the armband going into next season

There is a feeling that  Casemiro, Raphael Varane and David de Gea would better suit the role

Indeed, there is a feeling at United that Varane, David de Gea or Casemiro would be better suited to the role as skipper, though the language barrier could prove an obstacle towards the latter being handed the armband.

There has been no indication that Ten Hag will strip Fernandes of the armband in the short term, with any such decision likely to bring unnecessary scrutiny during the closing weeks of the season.

However, it remains to be seen whether Fernandes retains the captaincy should Maguire leave at the end of the season given concerns behind the scenes.

There is an acknowledgement that the selection of a new club captain should have little to do with popularity.

However, there is an emerging sense that others within the United dressing room would be more suited to role in terms of nurturing a collective team-spirit moving forward.

Source: Read Full Article