As the Portuguese playmaker from Manchester United became a top star, Bruno Fernandes revealed how he was urged to develop as a defender before eventually proving doubters wrong.
Bruno Fernandes’ career could have panned out very differently if he followed some guidelines when developing his game.
The 26-year-old grew up in Portugal, spending a great deal of his youthful career on the Boavista books, before eventually moving to Italy to Udinese and Sampdoria.
Fernandes admitted to the UTD Podcast during his younger days: “When I began playing football, either central defense or right-back, I always played central defender.”
Since I was competitive at the time, I was that guy who wanted to give tackles and all. I liked to play as a right-back. I was the free one as a central defender, being able to follow the wingers if the right-back wasn’t there and all that.
I was very fine, and I had a coach who said to me, “If you want to be a top player, you’re going to have to be a central defender. You’ll be a midfielder if you want to be a good player. He was wrong, I suppose, but maybe I could be even better, I don’t know, as a central defender! I didn’t like playing there at the time, but everyone said I was a good defender, they said I was smart, I protected the sides, but at one point I had the chance to go to the team a year-old group older than me and I said to the coach look, I don’t want to play central defense anymore, but if I had to play central defense, I’d rather go back and play a midfielder with the guys.
But the coach looked at the list of players when I joined that team, and since some were on holiday, he said, ‘Yeah, we have no strikers,’ and I said, ‘I’m a striker!’
‘He said,’ I thought that you were a central defender,’ and I said,’ No I’m no longer playing there I’m a striker! ‘So he gave me a training attempt, I scored twice and he said,’ Good, you can play a striker!’