Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd ace labelled a ‘dream player’ by national coach; ‘super-intelligent’ star offers ‘tactical flexibility’

Raphael Guerreiro, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot of Portugal celebrate a goal at the 2022 World Cup

Raphael Guerreiro, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot of Portugal

Bruno Fernandes has been branded as the stand-out star of the Portugal side with the Manchester United captain inspiring his nation into the 2024 European Championships with a 100% record along the way.

The Portuguese star took over the Manchester United armband on a permanent basis over the summer after Erik ten Hag decided to remove the honour from Harry Maguire. And while his approach is not always to everyone’s liking – Roy Keane for one has criticised Fernandes’ actions in the past – there is no doubting his abilities on the ball.

Indeed, the player has been at the heart of everything good his country have done in Euro 2024 qualifying. They have cruised through Group J with eight wins from eight games, scoring 32 goals in the process and conceding just twice.

And their latest win was a crushing 5-0 win away to Bosnia and Herzegovina – far from the easiest place to travel to – with all the goals coming in a dominant first half.

While the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo will once again take the plaudits – the former Man Utd man scored twice on the night to take his tally to a ridiculous 127 goals in 203 appearances – Portugal coach Roberto Martinez had little doubt on who his star man was.

Indeed, Martinez claims Fernandes is very much the heartbeat of the Portugal side and feels that when he plays well, they play well.

“Bruno Fernandes is a very good professional, a player who has seven assists, an intelligent player, who adapts to the qualities of his teammates, who gives a lot of tactical flexibility,” Martinez told Record.

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Bruno Fernandes branded star who makes Portugal tick

The 29-year-old has two goals and two assists for United so far this season, and also did manage to back his nation’s third on the night in Zenica.

That takes his overall tally to 18 in 61 caps for Portugal, and Martinez feels he will be important for his country’s prospects of winning the 2024 European Championships.

“Bruno Fernandes is a dream for a coach! He needs training to understand the idea of the game and has a high level of execution.

“Technically he has a vision of the game that I think is of superlative quality and I really like his work. He’s adapted to many positions, he gives structure, he gives balance, he’s a key player for us.”

Not only do Portugal rely on Fernandes, but United too will also need the player at his inspirational best if they are to overcome their woeful start to the season.

United are currently 10th in the Premier League with six losses in their first 11 matches in all competitions representing their worst start to a season since 1986.

Next on the agenda is a must-win Premier League clash against basement boys Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. With knifes already sharpening for Erik ten Hag, the match is one he simply dare not lose and, in all honesty, simply needs to win. And he will hope Fernandes can inspire his club in the same way he’s been able to inspire his country.

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