Manchester United return to Premier League action tomorrow night, with the Old Trafford giants taking on Nottingham Forest as Erik ten Hag aims to start off the second half of the top-flight campaign with a victory.
United will go into Tuesday’s match with something of a selection crisis in defence, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez absent due to their participation in the World Cup final, while Harry Maguire missed the Carabao Cup win against Burnley last week due to illness.
Aside from that, though, the Red Devils appear to be at full strength. With that in mind, Ten Hag should unleash Bruno Fernandes against Forest, as the 28-year-old has the ability to be a game-changer in a match where nothing but three points will suffice.
The midfielder has scored twice and registered one assist, but it is his ability to create chances for others which has stood out so far this term, with Fernandes making 2.6 key passes per match while creating eight big chances for his team-mates.
Despite often playing just behind the lone striker, his defensive abilities are also excellent, with the 28-year-old making two tackles and 1.1 clearances per match, proving that he can be effective all over the pitch.
Fernandes carried his domestic form into the World Cup, with a ridiculously high Sofascore rating of 8.38 for his performances in Qatar ranking him as the best performer during the entire tournament, despite him played just four matches for Portugal as they exited in the quarter-finals.
Compatriot Matheus Nunes dubbed him “incredible” following his displays at the finals, and Ten Hag should arguably have him as the first name on the team sheet heading into tomorrow’s match.
There is no doubt he can add to his goal and assists tally against a Forest defence which has conceded 30 goals so far this season, and the Dutchman will be looking at the 28-year-old to inspire the team.
With United having not played in the league for just over six weeks, Fernandes will no doubt be chomping at the bit to pick up where he left off in November.