One of the most exciting midfield pairings of the year is set to be unveiled when Manchester United restart their campaign for a Champions League place. A season curtailed by injury, dynamic talisman Paul Pogba, fresh from multiple setbacks, will return to the squad and potentially line up next to Bruno Fernandes, the man brought in to fill the creative midfielder’s role.
In only a few starts, the Portuguese international Fernandes has won the hearts of fans with his energy and eye for goals. In less than 10 starts for the Red Devils since arriving from Sporting Lisbon, Fernandez has bagged four assists and three goals, earning a Man of the Match award for his display against Watford in February.
Solskjaer’s Selection Headache
How the pair line up for United is the sort of quandary managers like to have. In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got quite the task on his hands to find his midfield balance. Brazilian Fred, described lovingly as a “diminutive fighter” by ManUtd.com journalist Mark Froggatt, has been a mainstay all season while Scott McTominay is another returning from injury to add to the manager’s selection headache. With Marcus Rashford returning also to lead United’s goalscoring threat, fans have even more reason to feel optimistic about a Champions League spot.
Despite lying fifth and three points behind Chelsea, the bookies aren’t ruling them out; football betting currently has the Red Devils at odds of 7/4. The Pogba and Fernandes influence is a huge reason why.
Indeed, the manager has spoken about his excitement about pairing the duo together for the first time. While acknowledging the opinion of commentators like Danny Murphy who has suggested the French and Portuguese internationals won’t complement each other, Solskjaer has argued “good players can always play together”. He also said his mix of talent in the centre of the park gives him plenty of options.
The Premier League’s “Best” Midfield
Left-back Luke Shaw, who has seen Pogba and Fernandes working their magic in training over the last few weeks, says he’s excited about seeing two of the Premier League’s best midfielders link up. Shaw revealed to reporters that the dynamic duo were paired together in recent inter-team match-ups. He said it was “fascinating” to see them showing glimpses of their potential.
Their relationship is certainly building. In a podcast, Pogba discussed the possibilities of lining up next to Fernandes for Utd, telling listeners of his own excitement about the prospect. Meanwhile, Fernandes has spoken of his admiration for the Frenchman. Now the time has come for them to show their class on the field.
If any further evidence was needed about the pair’s potential, United legend Ryan Giggs said Fernandes has made a real impact at Old Trafford, putting the “excitement” back into the team. Although he stopped short of agreeing with those comparing him to Eric Cantona, he said, like Pogba, he has lots of quality. It’s now about seeing how their individual talents can complement each other.