In his first five weeks at Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes has already demonstrated a dazzling range of skills that have made him an instant hit with the fans and earned him a nomination for the Premier League Player of the Month award.
But arguably, the Portuguese international’s personality and attitude to football is even more impressive than his ball-playing talents and are ultimately what could make him one of the greatest players to ever grace the Theatre of Dreams.
The Times reports some examples of Bruno the man.
First, on the day the 25-year-old signed for the Red Devils, the day of his daughter’s third birthday, Bruno insisted that he start training straight away.
‘He turned to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and said: “Can I train now?”’ the outlet reports. ‘The rest of the squad were not at Carrington, but Fernandes insisted on training. He wanted to make a good impression and felt he needed a couple of hours’ training to be up to full speed for his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers, so off he went with one of United’s fitness coaches out on to the grass.’
Contrast this to the day Romelu Lukaku signed for Manchester United and was arrested for partying too noisily at his Beverly Hills mansion.
The report also describes how like Scott McTominay, Fernandes refuses to do interviews on the day before or the day after a match ‘as he does not want to interrupt his preparation or recovery’.
Fernandes, ‘polite but outspoken’, has also from the outset not been afraid to speak his mind both in training and on the pitch. He has been seen telling teammates where he thinks they should make their runs and according to a staff member ‘If he thinks something is not right, he will tell you so.’
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week described Fernandes as ‘a winner’, and that was evident after last Sunday’s draw at Everton. The midfielder reportedly told his teammates that they should be ‘mad’ they hadn’t won the game.
It is traits such as these that made Bruno such an important figure at Sporting Lisbon. According to RTP pundit António Tadeia, ‘Bruno kept on protesting every refereeing decision and corrected many of his colleagues…He wanted to be an example and people accepted that from him. [Former manager] Jorge Jesus said that he had to tell Bruno to come in from training because he just kept going.’
This kind of winning mentality and these leadership qualities are exactly what has been lacking at Old Trafford in recent years. On his arrival, Fernandes said ‘I can promise the fans that I will give everything for the badge to help bring us more success and trophies’. They are words we’ve heard from many players before, but you sense that in Fernandes, finally we have a player who means every one of them.
An injection of such fiery determination to succeed at all costs can spread through the club faster than an Asian virus and could be the key to bringing greatness back to Manchester United sooner than anyone had thought possible.
United are through to the FA Cup quarter finals after their win at Derby. But how much do you know about the Red Devils’ history in the FA Cup? Take our quiz below to find out!