Manchester United has officially announced Bruno Fernandes as their new club captain, replacing Harry Maguire, who was stripped of the captaincy earlier this week. The decision was made by United's manager Erik ten Hag, marking a significant shift in the team's leadership.
Fernandes, the Portuguese midfielder, has been a talismanic figure for the Red Devils since his arrival from Sporting Club in January 2020. He has already worn the armband for United on numerous occasions, but will now lead the team on a permanent basis. His first game as the official captain will be against Arsenal in the first fixture of their pre-season tour of the United States.
The decision comes after Maguire's peripheral role in the last season, where he ended the campaign as United's fifth-choice centre-back. The England defender was given the captain's armband by former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2020, but his role has been significantly reduced under ten Hag's management.
Fernandes has been instrumental in United's recent successes, contributing significantly to the team's top-four finish in the 2019-20 season and a second-placed finish in 2020-21. This was their joint-best Premier League finish since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.
Since joining United, Fernandes has scored 64 goals and contributed 54 assists in just 185 games. His leadership qualities and influence on the pitch have been widely recognized, earning him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award twice.
A club statement confirming Fernandes' new role said: "The Portuguese midfielder has already worn the armband for United on numerous occasions and Erik ten Hag has confirmed that he will now lead the team on a permanent basis. As captain, the two-time Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year will continue to drive the highest standards throughout the squad as United push for success in the 2023/24 season and beyond."
This change in leadership is expected to bring a new dynamic to the team as they prepare for the upcoming season. With Fernandes at the helm, Manchester United will be looking to build on their recent successes and aim for the Premier League title.