Ten Hag explains captaincy decision

Friday 21 July 2023 14:00

Erik ten Hag has outlined his reasons for giving the Manchester United club captaincy to Bruno Fernandes.

The Portugal international regularly took on the armband when Harry Maguire was not in the starting line-up in 2022/23, and has been officially handed the duties ahead of our first game of the US tour, against Arsenal on Saturday (22:00 BST).

The manager is in no doubt that Maguire will continue to fight for his place and show his own leadership skills, on and off the pitch, but feels Bruno has earned the role after his efforts in the Dutchman's maiden campaign in charge.

Erik: Bruno is a great inspiration Video

Erik: Bruno is a great inspiration

Bruno Fernandes has all the qualities to excel as United's club captain, says the manager...

"A good team is always covering areas as leaders, team players, multi-functional players, specialists, individualists," Ten Hag told club media. "But you need some leaders in the team, on the pitch, who are guiding the team, who are building the team, who are controlling the quality of the performance.

"And one has to wear the [arm]band and we chose, I chose, Bruno because he is a great inspiration. He is the example.

"He always wants to be a better football player, working very hard to give his maximum performance. So he is the mirror for many players and he is a good social connector.

"He is also very good at game understanding. So, for a manager, it's very good to have that intermediary on the pitch. So those are some reasons, but he can't do it alone.

"We need more help. We need more leaders to have a strong bond and who can point a team in the right direction."

"We respect Harry," continued the boss, in conversation with MUTV's Danny Webber. "Harry's very important for this squad, for this team. And, you know, in his role as centre-back, we have four centre-backs. I talked about consistency and we know we can't do it with 11 players and so I'm happy we have four very good centre-backs.

"And we will need them, and he has to fight for his place, as he did last year. He has a high potential so I'm sure he will do it, he will fight for his place and then it's up to him."