Erik ten Hag expressed his admiration for Bruno Fernandes, considering him a “great inspiration” and revealing the reason behind appointing him as the new captain. The club has officially named the Portuguese midfielder as their captain for the upcoming season. During the last season, Fernandes assumed the captaincy for a significant part of the matches as Harry Maguire faced challenges in securing a consistent starting position.
According to Erik ten Hag, Harry Maguire serves as an “example” and a “mirror” for numerous players within the team, setting a positive standard for them to emulate. The Manchester United manager sees the 28-year-old defender as a “leader” who plays a crucial role in guiding and uniting the team. Maguire’s leadership qualities are believed to be instrumental in building a cohesive and strong team spirit, making him an essential figure both on and off the field.
“A good team is always covering areas as leaders, team players, multi-functional players, specialists, individualists. But you need some leaders in the team, on the pitch, who are guiding the team, who are building the team, who are controlling the quality of the performance. And one has to wear the [arm]band and we chose, I chose, Bruno because he is a great inspiration. He is the example,” Ten Haag told the official club media.
“He always wants to be a better football player, working very hard to give his maximum performance. So he is the mirror for many players and he is a good social connector. He is also very good at game understanding. So, for a manager, it’s very good to have that intermediary on the pitch. So those are some reasons, but he can’t do it alone. We need more help. We need more leaders to have a strong bond and who can point a team in the right direction,” he added.
Following Harry Maguire’s removal as captain, Erik ten Hag addressed the situation and emphasized that the defender continues to hold significance within the team. However, the Dutch tactician asserted that Maguire will need to compete and “fight for his place” in the starting lineup. Despite the change in captaincy, Ten Hag made it clear that Maguire’s role in the squad remains relevant, and he will have the opportunity to prove himself on the pitch.
“We respect Harry. Harry’s very important for this squad, for this team. And, you know, in his role as centre-back, we have four centre-backs. I talked about consistency and we know we can’t do it with 11 players and so I’m happy we have four very good centre-backs. And we will need them, and he has to fight for his place, as he did last year. He has a high potential so I’m sure he will do it, he will fight for his place and then it’s up to him,” he said.