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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discovered his modern-day Wayne Rooney at Manchester United


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discovered his modern-day Wayne Rooney at Manchester United

Manchester United fans had no idea how lucky they were to have Wayne Rooney.

As a number 10, he was full of energy and provided you with everything you required. He had an excellent defensive work rate, a great eye for a pass, and could always be counted on when his team needed a goal.

Because of his diverse skill set, he was used in a variety of positions during his 13-year tenure at Old Trafford, and you could always count on him to be one of the best players on the field no matter where he was.

United has struggled to replace Rooney’s talent as well as his leadership. That is, until now.

Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s talisman since the moment he stepped through the door in January 2019.

In 94 games, he has 44 goals and 32 assists, with his efforts helping United to a second-place finish in the Premier League and a trip to the Europa League final last season.

United may have become too reliant on Fernandes in recent years, but with Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival and subsequent switch to a 3-5-2 formation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – where Fernandes is likely to play behind Ronaldo and one of Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, or Mason Greenwood – he won’t be tasked with carrying the team any longer.

In fact, Fernandes, like Rooney, will now serve as a back-up to the headline-grabbers.

His job will be to link up the attack and ensure that whoever leads the line receives the necessary support and service, as well as chip in with a few goals for himself.

Recent victories over Atalanta and Tottenham demonstrated exactly what we can expect from Fernandes this season.

He created eight chances and was instrumental in the team’s comeback win against Atalanta in the Champions League, registering two assists, including a fantastic cross that was met by Harry Maguire at the back post.

The pass for Ronaldo to score the opener against Tottenham reminded many fans of Rooney’s link-up with former Manchester United forward Robin van Persie, who latched onto his teammate’s long ball to score a famous volley against Aston Villa.

On Saturday, Fernandes’ perfectly weighted ball to Ronaldo was absolutely brilliant, with the accompanying finish arguably equaling Van Persie’s strike all those years ago.

Many have pointed out that Fernandes hasn’t scored since the win over Newcastle, and that the presence of Ronaldo may have had an impact on Fernandes’ output.

While it’s easy to jump to conclusions (especially when the world appears to be desperate to moan at Ronaldo whenever the opportunity presents itself), Fernandes’ lack of goals can be explained quite easily by his role in the team having been adjusted.

This season, the Portugal international is more of a playmaker for United. He averaged 2.6 key passes per 90 minutes and had 17 assists last season, but so far this season he’s averaged 3.8 key passes per 90 minutes and has seven assists in just 14 games across all competitions.

He may not be United’s number one player or the player who gets the most attention, but he’s still an absolutely crucial player, and Solskjaer knows exactly what he’s doing by building his team around him.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discovered his modern-day Wayne Rooney at Manchester United

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