John Barnes Highlights Main Concern For Manchester United Amid Struggles

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Wednesday night saw Manchester United slump to a back to back 3-0 loss, this time at the hands of much changed Newcastle side in the Carabao Cup. It follows the humbling suffered against Manchester City on Sunday evening. We caught up with John Barnes who has weighed in on the debate surrounding Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United captain.

In this article:

  • Is Bruno Fernandes captain material?
  • Toxic environment not helping new signings
  • Sancho can revive his career away from United

Is Bruno Fernandes Captain Material?

The captain of Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes, consistently sparks debate. Many admire his drive to actively create opportunities on the field, controlling the ball at his feet, though sometimes this disrupts Manchester United’s gameplay. Fernandes has a propensity to opt for forward passes or to take shots when it might be wiser to maintain possession. At times, this approach is to his advantage.

However, his recent performances have been lacking, and it’s becoming evident in his behaviour off the ball. With arms waving and frequent complaints to teammates, opponents, and referees, his demeanour has been noticeable. These habits were particularly evident in the match against Manchester City on Sunday, attracting criticism from figures like Roy Keane, who questioned Fernandes’ suitability as captain. While Barnes acknowledges Fernandes’ talent as a player, he is uncertain if the Portuguese international fosters the unity and cohesion that United desperately needs.

“Bruno Fernandes is a fantastic footballer but you have to look at the harmony of the team.

“I would prefer my captain not to be throwing his hands in the air and gesticulating to the fans when things aren’t going well. Ronaldo used to do it also. United need harmony and togetherness which is something he maybe doesn’t offer.

“He’s a great player but you need your leaders when things aren’t going well and under those circumstances I don’t think he’s the right player to be dragging them out of the mire.”

Fernandes and his Manchester United are set to take on Fulham this weekend, in what could potentially be a tough test for the Red Devils at Craven Cottage. Erik ten Hag’s side are priced at 11/10 on Coral to win against the Cottagers. Check out the Coral bonus code when signing up, as they have a great signup offer for new customers.

Toxic Environment Not Helping New Signings

Of recent questions have been raised about ten hag and his transfer policy. Having spent close to £400m on players since joining the club it’s been curious to observe United worsen during his tenure. Especially this season. Antony is another example of a player that has flattered to deceive and has generally disappointed since signing from Ajax last summer. However, Barnes points to the reported toxic environment that surrounds the club as the biggest issue for the Manchester United players.

“ten Hag’s signings are all good players but they’ve come into a side and an environment where it’s not a happy situation and there’s a lack of harmony then it’ll be difficult for those players.

“Antony for example. You don’t go to Manchester United for £80m if you’re a bad player.

“The team needs to be together but there’s turmoil at the club which makes it difficult for these new signings. If United and ten Hag can garner some harmony, togetherness and get a spirit in the dressing room then the player will show what they can do.”

Sancho can revive his career away from United

Jadon Sancho’s absence from the Manchester United first team has sparked widespread discussion about his future. When he transferred from Borussia Dortmund, there were high expectations for the winger, but he has found it challenging to replicate the impressive form he displayed in Germany. Despite this, Barnes is still a strong supporter of the 23-year-old and is confident that Sancho has the potential to rejuvenate his career at another club.

“Jadon Sancho is a fantastic player. He also cost close to £80m and he’s still a good player. It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes elsewhere and does very well. I don’t think Sancho can revive his career at United now because of what’s gone on. The player he is, he can go elsewhere and have a great career.”

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