Andy Cole lambasts the style of leadership from Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes for being “disrespectful” to his teammates
Manchester United legend Andy Cole chastised the leadership style of captain Bruno Fernandes, calling it disrespectful to his teammates. United manager Erik ten Hag stripped Harry Maguire of captaincy and appointed Fernandes as a new captain before the current season began.
Many fans and football pundits like Roy Keane have previously criticized the antics and behaviour of the United captain. The 29-year-old tends to display his displeasure openly when things aren’t going in United’s favour. When expected to display level-headedness and calmness as a captain, the Portuguese tends to throw a tantrum.
However, Fernandes has been one of the most consistent performers for the Red Devils in the last couple of seasons. The Portugal international is the primary playmaker for the United’s senior team for his consistent productivity since signing for United.
“Bruno leads in a different way and I understand it. I can also understand that people don’t want to see a captain waving his arms about in frustration, which I personally believe is disrespectful to his teammates, but at this moment in time, he’s the man and he will captain the side in a way which he believes is beneficial to himself and his teammates.”
United signed Fernandes from Portuguese side Sporting CP for £67.6m in January 2020. The Portugal international has made 202 appearances for the Red Devils while contributing 68 goals and 57 assists so far.
However, the 29-year-old has struggled with form this season which coincides with the struggling season that United are facing. The Red Devils have lost nine out of 18 games in all competitions, displaying vulnerabilities in all areas of the pitch.
Fernandes has made 17 appearances in all competitions while scoring four goals and providing three assists. The Portuguese scored the winning goal against Fulham after receiving a barrage of criticism during that week. The 29-year-old can lead by example despite having leadership flaws is not common for a captain of a world-renowned club.
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Taking Cole’s assessment constructively is crucial since emotional outbursts from a captain may undermine confidence among teammates. Fernandes wears his emotions on his sleeve and that helps drive his performance and need for perfectionism.
However, United have a rich history of seeing level-headed and serious players leading the senior team on the field. Former captains like Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville had their issues with emotions but stayed calm and confident in the face of adversity.