WHAT OCCURED? After falling down the pecking order under Erik Ten Hag last season, the most expensive defender in the world has been stripped of the armband at Old Trafford. Fernandes, a Portuguese midfielder who stepped in on a regular basis throughout the 2022-23 season when United needed on-field leadership, has been named the club’s new permanent captain. Maguire has admitted to being saddened by the decision, but Fernandes claims he has the full support of his predecessor.
WHAT THEY SAID: When questioned about Maguire’s reaction to being replaced in a prominent post, Fernandes told reporters, “He gave me congratulations and said he is really happy for me.” I recognize his current situation is not ideal. It must have been difficult for him, but he came over and congratulated me, which made me glad because we have always had a nice connection.”
“He spoke in front of the whole group,” the Portugal international said of Ten Hag summoning a team gathering to reveal the captaincy call. He desired to perform it in front of everyone. Everyone was aware of the situation with H [Maguire], but no one knew who would be the next captain, so he did it at a team meeting with everyone there because it’s something we need to do more often, to hold things within and give ourselves accolades. Obviously, it’s a huge honor, and it’s something I never expected. It’s beyond your wildest thoughts, but it’s something for me and my family because they’ve been there for me the whole way, and it’s a proud moment for everyone.”