Manchester United’s superstar Bruno Fernandes has revealed how he was urged to develop as a defender.
The Portuguese’s career could have panned out very differently had he followed some advice while developing his game.
Fernandes has been a pivotal player in the No.8 and No.10 role at Old Trafford.
During his younger days, the 26-year-old 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.
“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.”
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Fernandes has scored 18 goals for United in just 33 games in 2020.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago