The woes for Manchester United, who currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League with a negative goal difference, were compounded by a devastating 3-0 loss to Manchester City over the weekend. This raised further concerns about Erik ten Hag’s managerial suitability at the club.
Bruno Fernandes, a key player for United, has faced criticism in the aftermath of this defeat, with former club captain Roy Keane suggesting he be relieved of his captaincy role.
Keane expressed his views on Sky Sports, stating, “Today, having watched him again, I would take the captaincy off him, 100 percent. I know it’s a significant decision, especially after they reassigned the captaincy from [Harry] Maguire. However, Fernandes is not fit to be a captain.”
Keane acknowledged Fernandes’ talent but criticized his on-field behavior, including constant complaints, whining, and exaggerated gestures.
In addition to Fernandes, several other United players have faced criticism for their performances, including Mason Mount. Mount, who made a £60 million move from Chelsea in the summer, has struggled to make an impact at the club. He came on as a substitute at half-time against City but had minimal influence on the game. To date, he has contributed only one assist and has yet to score in eight games this season.
This is in contrast to the performances of Mount’s fellow England internationals, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison, and Declan Rice, who have thrived at their new clubs since switching teams this summer. Maddison, in particular, has excelled at Tottenham, scoring three goals and providing five assists.
Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst suggests that United opted not to pursue Maddison, who was secured by Tottenham for just £40 million. United’s decision stemmed from concerns that Maddison’s playing style was too similar to that of Fernandes.
“James Maddison, one of Mount’s peers, has been the best player in the Premier League this season, Declan Rice has been one of the best, and Jude Bellingham is the best in the world. United did not go near any of those England midfielders,” wrote Luckhurst.
“Senior United sources say Maddison was too identical to Bruno Fernandes. Mount started the majority of his Chelsea career in the attacking midfield role that Fernandes frequently occupies for United.”