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Erik ten Hag’s previous comments shut down Paul Ince’s “all about him” criticism



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Credit: talkSPORT/ Manchester United

Paul Ince has spoken about his belief that Bruno Fernandes is not equipped for his role as Manchester United captain, with his view a stark contrast to Erik ten Hag’s.

Bruno Fernandes has been captain of Manchester United for four months having taken over from Harry Maguire at the request of Erik ten Hag in the summer.

It has been a move that some have relished, while others feel it was not the right decision – including former United midfielder Paul Ince, who believes that Fernandes does not have the same traits as some of the great captains of old.

“I think captains look completely different nowadays (compared to) when you talk about the greats of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams – standouts, leaders,” Ince told talkSPORT.

Read More: Bruno Fernandes agrees with Roy Keane’s Man United judgement for two unsung heroes

“Beckham was a leader by the way he played. I don’t know what I see in Fernandes. is he a leader by the way he plays? Because I feel at the moment he’s not playing to the best of his ability. Yes, he scored the winner against Fulham, but as far as a leader (is concerned), you do it by organisation.

“I, as a captain, always felt – I have been the captain of (almost) every team I played for – if I wasn’t playing well, I made sure the people around me were playing well. that’s part of being a captain; knowing your players and getting the best out of them.”

Despite never quite achieving the role of captain of Manchester United, Ince did become the first-ever black captain of the England national football team in June 1993.

“I think when I look at Fernandes, it’s just about him. If he’s not playing well, then you can see it with his body language, you can see it when he’s arguing with the refs.”

Erik ten Hag, however, holds a completely different view. As mentioned by Ince, Fernandes recently scored the winning goal when United visited Craven Cottage, with Ten Hag praising the responsibility that he thrives with in respect to helping his teammates.

“From the moment I made him captain he did this [win games],” Ten Hag said after the game.

“Always when he is playing, he is giving energy and setting the example. And you see the way he is pressing, the way he is counter-pressing. The way he makes recovery runs. He is absolutely the example and he is taking responsibility all the time. On and off the pitch.

“He takes responsibility by scoring important goals but also in how he is always wanting the ball and always wanting to create. I’m happy with my captain.”

Fernandes, although he was only awarded the official role of captain in the summer, has been United’s de facto leader in the dressing room for a number of years.

Last season he took over Harry Maguire’s role on the field after the England defender was dropped in favour of Lisandro Martínez, and more often than not, has been the difference maker both on and off the field at Manchester United.

Since signing for the club in January 2020 he has been a catalyst, acting as a goalscorer, assist provider, leader, and galvaniser. Despite Ince’s comments, there are no signs that the armband will be taken off Fernandes any time soon.