Gary Neville has urged Portugal boss Fernando Santos to play Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes in his favoured attacking midfield position.
The 28-year-old has been deployed on the right-hand side from the start in both of the Selecao’s first two World Cup matches in Qatar.
However, although Fernandes has two goals and two assists from Portugal’s two matches, none of his four goal involvements have come down the right-hand side.
Our number eight’s most influential moments have come when AC Milan forward Rafael Leao has replaced Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves in the second half, which has resulted in Fernandes playing more centrally with Leao going out to the left and Joao Felix moving over to the right.
Gary Neville urges Portugal boss Fernando Santos to play Bruno Fernandes in favoured position
Portugal have looked far more free flowing when they have only had one defensive midfielder on the pitch with Bernardo Silva and Fernandes roaming and influencing the game in front.
But from the start Santos has often taken a more pragmatic approach which isn’t likely to change when Portugal face sterner tests later in the competition.
But Neville believes that Fernandes’ performances on the right for United this season when Donny van de Beek was given a chance in the attacking midfielder position has shown that he finds it “awkward” out on the right.
Speaking on Gary Neville’s World Cup Podcast, the Reds legend said: “Bruno Fernandes to the right – we know he cannot play there, we’ve seen examples at Manchester United – he almost [trudges] over to the right.
“We know it’s not going to work for him on that side because he’s there, but he doesn’t play it, he doesn’t like it – he’s not got the pace for it – he’s not even good at coming into the holes because he’s a bit awkward there.
“When he went back into midfield with Bernardo Silva and [William] Carvalho was behind with [Rafael] Leao, Joao Felix and Cristiano [Ronaldo] in front I thought that looks pretty good.”
Portugal, who have already qualified for the last-16, play South Korea tomorrow in their final Group H game.