Daily Mail


Anfield antics set to end Fernandes’ dream of full-time United captaincy


Bruno Fernandes has suffered a huge blow to his hopes of being Manchester united’s next permanent captain as doubts grow at the club over his suitabilit­y for the role.

The Portugal midfielder was roundly criticised for his latest petulant showing in sunday’s humiliatin­g 7-0 defeat at Liverpool.

But concerns about whether he is the right skipper in the long term for the erik ten Hag era were apparent well before the embarrassm­ent on Merseyside.

Fernandes has led the team since club captain Harry Maguire was marginalis­ed. england defender Maguire has spent most of the season on the bench and is set to leave united this summer, freeing up the captaincy.

Fernandes was seen as a leading contender to take over but sources have indicated there are reservatio­ns in the camp about whether he has the right attributes. Many at united — players

included — were irritated by Fernandes’ behaviour on the pitch at Anfield.

The manner in which he appeared to head towards the tunnel at full time without acknowledg­ing the fans is understood to have been received particular­ly badly. Several more episodes involving Fernandes on Sunday drew condemnati­on.

The 28-year-old went down clutching his face in the second half when replays showed that Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate’s trailing left hand had caught him in the chest.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville branded Fernandes a ‘disgrace’ for questionin­g why he wasn’t being taken off when Ten Hag made changes late in the game, although sources last night claimed that he was asking whether he should play through the middle or on the right as Anthony Elanga came on for Marcus Rashford. Fernandes (below) was also criticised for pushing linesman Adam Nunn in the back but the FA confirmed yesterday that he would not be punished for the incident because it was spotted by referee Andy Madley and was not included in his report.

The FA, who recently wrote to all clubs reminding them of their players’ responsibi­lities following a spate of incidents, only take retrospect­ive action if a clear sending-off offence is deemed to have been missed by the match officials. Apprehensi­on at Old Trafford over Fernandes’ apparent position as captain-in-waiting pre-dates the loss to Liverpool, amid a sense his constant whingeing and general manner on the field are not befitting of a United skipper. There is a feeling that Raphael Varane, David de Gea or Casemiro are better suited to the role, though the language barrier could prove an obstacle towards the latter being handed the armband. There is no indication Ten Hag will strip Fernandes of the captaincy in the short term, with any such decision likely to bring unnecessar­y scrutiny during the closing weeks of the season, as United try to add to their Carabao Cup triumph.


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