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Football Reporting


Fernandes sees himself as a ‘natural’ leader as Man Utd midfielder takes centre stage

The Portugal international has become a talismanic presence at Old Trafford, but he believes there is even more he can offer to the collective cause

Bruno Fernandes sees himself being a “natural” leader at Manchester United, with the Portuguese embracing his standing as a talismanic presence for the Red Devils.

It was the 26-year-old’s creative qualities that first brought him onto the recruitment radar at Old Trafford.

He has, however, always been an ambitious performer who is determined to bring the best out of himself and those around him.

United have embraced those qualities through a productive 12 months in England, with Fernandes providing considerable value on the back of a €55 million (£47m/$60m) deal.

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He has taken the captain’s armband at times, but is eager to point out that he is someone who prefers to lead by example – rather than taking on the role of skipper.

Fernandes told United’s official website of his ability to inspire for the Red Devils: “I think it’s something natural in me.

“I don’t do anything like saying ‘I want to be a leader or I want to do things in a different way to someone’, it’s the natural way I have. It’s something that’s in my game.

“Sometimes you have to improve also on this because you need leadership from different players in different modes.

“For me the point is helping everyone with my voice when I can and also with my energy and everything I do in the game to help the team.

“The most important thing for me is helping my team-mates in any way I can, if it’s with my voice then it’s with my voice, if it’s with my energy then it’s with my energy.”

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Fernandes has contributed a further 10 goals and five assists to the United cause this season, with those efforts helping to keep Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side competitive across multiple fronts.

The Red Devils have been particularly strong away from home, with their key playmaker taking considerable heart from a run of four successive Premier League wins on the road that have required a fightback to be staged on each occasion.

He added ahead of a trip to West Ham on Saturday: “The spirit is good of course but for me most of the time when we have come back in the games it’s because we believe. We believe and we trust ourselves and I think this is the most important thing.

“When you concede a goal normally everything is bad but the belief and the trust we have in each other is the most important thing.

“I think everyone knows Christmas time is one of the most important times in the league because we know what we have to do.

“We have a lot of games now and if we do well we can be where we want to be. So we have to win our games, focus on what we have to do and the most important thing now is to focus on West Ham and bringing three points home.”

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