Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has observed a host of his players’ endeavours during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with none more impressive than Bruno Fernandes as the group phase approaches the conclusive fixture.
Fernandes has reminded the world of his prowess on the biggest stage after a decline of direct contributions for United across the past few seasons.
This year, he yields just three goals and assists apiece following 20 matches across all competitions for the Red Devils.
But with two goals and two assists in just two games in Qatar, Fernandes has rekindled his clinical touch and staked a big claim for the player of the tournament so far.
The 51-cap international has been immense, with Sofascore rating his performance against Ghana at 8.4, with his destructive display against Uruguay achieving 8.8, ranking him the best performer on the pitch on both occasions.
The return to such sublime form comes at the perfect time for Manchester United, with teammate and compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo mutually terminating his contract with the club.
The void left by his departure should not be detrimental to United’s endeavours, with the forward only scoring three times for the club this season, but it does open the door for the £64.6m-rated phenom to take the reins once more and return to his previous role as the offensive focal point.
Despite his dip in goals and assists, FBref still illustrates the presence he holds on the field, ranking him in the top 6% for passes attempted and the top 9% for progressive passes, whilst also highlighting his defensive aptitude and alert nature by placing him in the top 2% for clearances, when compared to positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues.
Hailed as a “magnifico” by Squawka after the Uruguay victory, the 28-year-old is earning lavish praise indeed, and justifiably so, with Statman Dave also praising the offensive midfielder for his “crucial contribution” against Ghana in the opening match, where he served two assists.
With the goals starting to rain down once again for the maestro, it feels as if it is a question of when, not if, that the £240k-per-week earner will entwine his international efforts with those at club level, and provide Old Trafford, and indeed Portugal, with the spark needed to reignite the fire, and guide the club back to gilt-covered success.