A former England international has slammed Bruno Fernandes for his criticism of Alejandro Garnacho, amid the Manchester United youngster’s impressive rise.
Garnacho was given his first Manchester United start during the Europa League game against Sheriff Tiraspol on October 27. He managed 79 minutes as Erik ten Hag’s men ran out 3-0 winners.
Garnacho, who usually plays on the left wing, has since featured against Real Sociedad in Europe, Aston Villa in the Premier League and then Villa again in the Carabao Cup.
The 18-year-old has looked comfortable competing at the highest level and has got Man Utd fans excited with his trickery, dribbling skills and pace.
Garnacho netted his first Man Utd goal during the 1-0 away win over Sociedad. He was played in by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 17th minute and took a couple of good touches before firing into the roof of the net on his left foot.
The starlet also registered two assists during Man Utd’s 4-2 victory over Villa on Thursday. He set up their third goal by pouncing on a Robin Olsen error and playing Fernandes in, allowing the Portuguese to finish via a deflection.
Garnacho’s second assist on the night was far more impressive. He sent a delightful cross into the box from far out on the left flank, with Scott McTominay then completing the move with a deft shot.
Following the Europa League win over Sociedad, Fernandes praised Garnacho but also criticised him for his poor attitude in pre-season.
Bruno Fernandes gives honest admission on Man Utd teenager
“He was good, but he knows that we expect a lot from him,” Fernandes told BT Sport.
“Obviously he’s still really young, he’s doing really well. He was not at his best at the beginning of the season.
“On the tour he didn’t have the best attitude that he should have had. And that’s why he didn’t get his chances until now. He’s getting his chances because he’s training better, having a different attitude and deserving his chances.”
Fernandes is clearly looking out for his younger teammate and wants him to keep his head down so he can reach his full potential.
However, there is good reason to suggest Fernandes should not have said this publicly. His comment could cause severe tension in the dressing room and ruin all the hard work Ten Hag has put in to make the group close again.
During an appearance on talkSPORT, former striker Darren Bent has criticised Fernandes for speaking in that way about Garnacho.
Pundit hits out at Fernandes for Alejandro Garnacho criticism
“I didn’t like that one bit,” Bent admitted. “When you talk to the media and you’re captain, you’ve got to look after the young players. He’s got a lot of potential around him because he’s playing really well.
“You don’t need people making up their mind before he’s had a fair crack at it. Now if he’s left out, or there’s something around him, they’re going to say ‘See. Bruno said he had a bad attitude.’
“He’s got to protect the younger players. You can’t be throwing them under the bus as they’ve just started.”
It is good that Fernandes wants to keep Garnacho grounded. This should prevent him from getting too big for his boots at a young age. But like Bent suggests, this is the kind of thing which should have been kept between the players and staff.
If things now go downhill for Garnacho, Fernandes will be criticised for having a role in this.