Marcus Rashford has called Bruno Fernandes a “good leader” after Erik ten Hag refused to strip the midfielder of the vice-captaincy.
Ten Hag has faced calls to punish Fernandes after Manchester United suffered a 7-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday.
The Portugal international’s body language and overall display was heavily criticised after the humiliating defeat.
Yet Ten Hag has confirmed Fernandes is “definitely” still United’s vice-captain and will deputise for Maguire when he is unavailable or not selected. Rashford, who is now regarded as a senior player at the club, supports his manager’s decision.
“I love playing with Bruno, as you can imagine,” Rashford told the press on Wednesday. “He’s the perfect player to play with. He’s been a good leader for us, even when he’s not captain, which is always a good sign. He’s helped other players become better leaders and the reality is that we can’t be an organised team in terms of just one leader being captain.
“He’s done a lot for us. I don’t have anything negative to say about Bruno. As the manager said, nobody is perfect. I support him and I’m 100% behind him.”
Several pundits criticised Fernandes after Sunday’s game, as United conceded six goals during the second half. Chris Sutton has labelled him “The Incredible Sulk” and says he produced “one of the worst performances” in the Premier League history.
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Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Sutton urged Ten Hag to take the armband off “petulant child” Fernandes for the club’s Europa League game against Real Betis.
Yet the United boss is sticking by Fernandes. He told reporters, “Yes, definitely [still the captain], I think he’s playing a brilliant season, he’s played an important role in the position that we are. He’s giving energy to the team, running a lot with intensity, in the right way.
“He’s pointing and coaching players, he’s an inspiration for the whole team. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. I’m really happy to have Bruno Fernandes in my team and I’m happy with him as our captain with Harry not on the pitch.”