Erik ten Hag reiterated Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes is a “very good right winger” in comments that suggest a surprise goal machine could be unleashed on Saturday.
Fernandes, 29, is most at home when deployed in the No 10 role behind a sole striker. It’s from that position that the Portuguese racks up an incredible number of chances created each and every season at Old Trafford.
However, amid injuries and off-field issues, United’s wide ranks have been decimated this season.
Mason Greenwood was turfed out on loan to Getafe, while Jadon Sancho remains frozen out following his public spat with Ten Hag. Antony too has missed time amid domestic violence allegations.
That’s left Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri holding down the fort. However, Rashford has been well below par this term, Garnacho is generally more effective off the bench, and Pellistri is yet to rack up a single goal or assist this season.
Ahead of Saturday night’s Premier League clash with Sheffield United, Ten Hag suggested Fernandes could be a temporary solution on the right flank.
The Dutchman insisted his captain is “very good” when pushed wide, and such a change could open the door for Scott McTominay to feature in the role he excels in for Scotland.
“As a squad, in periods of the season, you have to deal with certain situations like injuries, at full-back and right wing in last couple of games,” said Ten Hag. “We have to find solutions.
“Bruno is a very good right winger as well. He has his freedom there, playing not typical but coming inside more, the 10 role and always you want to use a player like this.
“He’s a player that creates one of the most chances in all of the games.”
McTominay in line to start?
McTominay has been regarded as a holding midfielder for the vast bulk of his career. However, the 26-year-old has developed a penchant for goalscoring in recent times.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke deploys McTominay in a more advanced midfield role and it’s a tactical tweak that has proved a masterstroke.
Indeed, in Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, McTominay has remarkably scored six goals. That is the same number of goals registered by Kylian Mbappe for France and Erling Haaland for Norway in the qualification phase.
McTominay displayed his goalscoring prowess for Man Utd last time out in devastating fashion.
The Scot was thrust into an advanced role when brought on with United a goal down to Brentford. An injury-time brace helped snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sofyan Amrabat was pictured in training on Thursday despite leaving the Morocco camp early due to an unspecified problem.
He could partner either Mason Mount or Christian Eriksen in the double pivot with Casemiro sidelined with an ankle issue.
If Fernandes moves to the right wing, McTominay could then be given a chance to shine from the off in the No 10 role.