Football

Manchester United’s ‘fiery’ Bruno Fernandes is ‘similar player to Scholes’


Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Bruno Fernandes has a similar X factor to Paul Scholes in his ability to create and score while also having the former Manchester United midfielder’s fiery temperament.

Scholes, who retired in May 2013, is considered one of United’s greatest players, having won 11 titles in a career at the club that spanned 20 years. Fernandes was signed from Sporting Lisbon on Thursday for an initial £46.5m and will be in Saturday’s squad for Wolves’ visit.

United have not scored enough from midfield and Solskjær was asked whether the 25-year-old, who scored 15 goals for Sporting this season, could solve the problem.

The United manager said: “He is a goalscoring and assisting midfielder, a little bit like Paul Scholes. He can strike a ball fantastically. He has got such a wonderful technique but he also is going to get assists from set plays and from his range of passes. He is a similar type to Scholesy: fiery, passionate, hates losing and same number [18] on the back of the shirt.”

When the injured Paul Pogba returns Solskjær is confident Fernandes can operate alongside him.

“Bruno can play with good players, yes,” he said. “Bruno can do absolutely everything apart from … he’s probably not a target man in the box but he is such a good footballer. He can play in a three-man midfield, he can play as a 10, he can play in off the side, he can play in a diamond. We will give him his time to find his best position.”

Solskjær denied Fernandes’s arrival meant the unsettled Pogba would depart in summer. “We want to try to build towards a team that will challenge for the title and trophies, so we want to keep our best players,” he said. “We can play them together.”

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Fernandes will provide welcome competition. “We bring him in to play [regularly] and we believe [in] him. But we are also going to give him time to find his feet and settle down with new teammates in a new country.”

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Fernandes has spoken of discussing the move with his countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, who enjoyed a stellar United career. Solskjær, though, stopped short of comparing Fernandes to the five-times Ballon d’Or winner.

“Cristiano is unique,” Solskjær said of his former teammate. “We hope that Bruno will come in here and have a fantastic career. He has already given the players a boost. Just by meeting him they can see what type of human being he is, his personality, but to start comparing him with Cristiano is not fair on the boy.

“I think he is another piece in the jigsaw. I am sure he will give us that X factor that we have been missing at times this year. It’s an important piece in the puzzle that we are trying to solve.”



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