Gary Neville raves about Bruno Fernandes's impact on Manchester United

Gary Neville has named Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes in his Sky Sports Premier League team of 2020.

Speaking on last night’s Monday Night Football, Neville said Bruno is United’s leader, even without wearing the armband.

The former Red Devils captain put into words the impact everyone can see Fernandes has had on the club since his debut in February.

It was also pointed out on the show that only Liverpool have won more Premier League points since the Portuguese playmaker’s arrival.

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“There’s Paul Pogba, David de Gea, (Harry) Maguire, they’ve all been captain,” said Neville. “But (Bruno)’s the leader. Leader by example.

“Leader by what he does when he gives the ball way, sprints straight after it. Every time the team is on the ball, he wants the ball. Every time he gets the ball, he looks to play a pass that matters.

“He’s transformed the whole club. If he doesn’t play, it’s a massive problem. That’s a big issue, you’re almost reliant on him. Of all the midfield players they’ve got, he is just out there.

“Fernandes has been an absolute sensation at United, he’s the leader in that team, even if it’s not him wearing the armband. It could be.”

Looking back over a calendar year is often not especially useful in football, when the major honours are handed out in May – but it’s apt for Bruno.

He’s coming to the end of his first full year at Old Trafford and it’s an ideal time to take stock.

It’s almost impossible to overstate his impact on United. Last season’s top four finish was inspired by him. As Neville says, he’s already the club’s leader.

He probably should be the man wearing the armband already, but he plays like a captain on the pitch anyway.

If he keeps going the same way in 2021, there should be some silverware in the trophy cabinet to show for it this time next year.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.