Bruno: Every day is a chance to show you're ready
If you're a young, aspiring footballer at Manchester United right now, who better to learn from than Bruno Fernandes?
The Reds' creator-in-chief has been sensational since joining in January 2020, and already has 18 goals to his name this season.
But the Portuguese knows better than many that the path to the top is a long one, having started his career in relatively quiet fashion with then Serie B club Novara in Italy.
So Fernandes is worth listening to in more ways than one. And when we spoke to him earlier this week, he offered up some highly useful advice to the youngsters that have recently been enjoying their first taste of training with the senior squad.
“I think it’s always good for the club when we have young lads coming from the Academy, because it’s a sign that the work being done in the youth [ranks] is working,” Bruno told us.
“Of course it’s still a long way [to go]… I remember when I was young and training with the first team, it’s the first step. Now is the time to be humble, keep training well and keep doing the right things when they go back to the U18s and U23s, and you have to try to make the difference over there.”
Fernandes noted that experencing being a part of the first-team make-up can make it emotionally difficult to go back to the youth ranks, but added that this was the point in a career where complete focus and determination is required.
“They have to keep their heads clean,” he explained, “because it’s easy to come in to the first team and your head goes a little bit, and it’s also hard when you have to go back and train and play with the other teams again.
“I was in that position some years ago and I know it’s hard, but if you work and are humble and you understand that every time you play is a chance, no matter where you are playing, every time is a chance to show you are ready or that you want to make that next step.”
Interestingly, Bruno also suggested that the promotion of an Academy player was not just about granting the youngsters a new experience – but also about presenting a different challenge to the regulars in the first team.
“For us as a team, it’s important that when they come [to train with us] that they come to help us and learn from everyone and also give the qualities they have to the team,” he stressed. “Because if they come to the first team it’s because they have something good and that is something that can help us.”
In the press conference before this weekend's Premier League game with West Brom, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that three players would be remaining with the senior bubble: Amad, Hannibal and Shola Shoretire.
Who knows how useful Fernandes's pearls of wisdom could be for that trio in the years to come.