Bruno Fernandes ’ career could have panned out very differently had he followed some advice while developing his game.
Manchester United ’s superstar playmaker has been a pivotal player in the No.8 and No.10 role at Old Trafford.
Since arriving in January from Sporting, Fernandes has been United’s most consistent and standout player.
However, he was not always expected to achieve greatness, especially in an attacking sense.
The 26-year-old grew up in Portugal and spent the bulk of his youth career on the books of Boavista, before eventually moving to Italy playing for Udinese and Sampdoria.
During his younger days, Fernandes revealed to the UTD Podcast : “I played central defender for the most part, when I started playing football, either central defence or right-back.
“I liked to play as a right-back because I was aggressive at the time, I was that guy who wanted to give tackles and everything. As a central defender, I was the free one, being prepared to follow the wingers if the right-back wasn’t there and all that.
“I was really good, I had a coach who said to me, ‘If you want to be a top player, you will need to play as a central defender. If you want to be a good player, you will be a midfielder.
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“I think he was wrong but, maybe as a central defender, I could be much better, I don’t know!
“At the time I didn’t like to play there, but everyone was saying I was a good defender, they said I was smart, that I covered the sides, but, at one point, I had the chance to go to the team a year-group older than me and I said to the coach look, I don’t want to play central defence any more, but if I have to play central defence, I would prefer to go back and play as a midfielder with the guys my age.
“But when I joined that team, the coach looked at the list of players, and because some were on vacation he said, ‘Oh we have no strikers’ and I said ‘I’m a striker!’ He said, ‘I thought you were a central defender’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t play there any more, I’m a striker!’ So he gave me one try-out in training, I scored twice and he said ‘okay, you can play a striker!’
“So he played me as striker in one game, then, in the second game, I was like a ‘fake 9’ with two strikers, and after that I moved back to no.10 and no.8.”
Fernandes has scored 18 goals for United in just 33 games in 2020.
He is set to line up in attacking midfield once again next weekend when the Red Devils host West Brom in the Premier League.
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