Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville feels forward Bruno Fernandes bears favourable comparison to some of the top stars to play for Manchester United.
Fernandes, 28, made his 100th Premier League appearance for the Red Devils in Sunday’s clash with Fulham. He moved to Old Trafford from Sporting in January 2020 when the north-west giants paid in the region of £47m. And it has certainly been money well spent, with the Portugal international bagging 38 league goals for the club.
He has found the net on 53 occasions in all competitions and remains one of the most influential players for Erik ten Hag.
Neville is clearly a big fan of the former Udinese ace. And the ex-United defender believes his statistics prove just how vital he is to the club’s cause.
“He’s almost been ever present since he come to the club, consistent performer,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s worth looking at his career 100 games in. Captain today, the appearances over the last two or three years.
“He’s been one of the best performers, up there with Kevin De Bruyne for goals, assists, chances created.”
Fernandes compared to United legends
Fernandes seemed to struggle after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2021. He failed to hit the heights last term.
But Ten Hag’s decision to bench Ronaldo has allowed his compatriot more freedom.
Fernandes has notched a couple of goals and looked more like his old self. Neville feels he should be talked about in the same breath as a few United greats.
And the fact he has done it in a side without the dominance of previous United teams is testament to his quality.
“One of the very best Premier League players even though Manchester United have struggled in that period because of that you lose how good he is.
“You look at him in the Premier League and you put him in great company, you look at those great players in that list, he’s the only midfield player.
“Eric Cantona, staggering numbers, Ruud van Nistelrooy one of the best goal scorers, Rooney one of England’s best ever players.
“But Bruno Fernandes, in a struggling team, those played in wonderful, wonderful teams.”
Fernandes tipped to help bring good times back
Manchester United will head into the World Cup break fifth in the top-flight standings. A title challenge appears beyond them.
But Neville has backed Fernandes to help them push for a return to the Champions League.
“I think you have to say his career has been absolutely brilliant, he’s an important player and he’s been one of the best signings in the last two or three years,” he continued.
“He has dipped off but if he can pick it up, he can be a part of a successful Manchester United team.”
United have shown signs of a revival under their new manager.
But Ten Hag needs Fernandes to be at the top of his game is they are to avoid another season among the also-rans.