Juan Mata names the one player Man Utd should build around

  • Juan Mata has heaped praise upon Man Utd captain Bruno Fernandes
  • The midfielder has been in stunning form of late
  • He has nine goal contributions in the club's last six games
Mata has praised Fernandes
Mata has praised Fernandes / Masashi Hara/GettyImages

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has insisted that the club need to build their culture around captain Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes was named Man Utd captain by Erik ten Hag last summer and, despite the club's topsy-turvy form, the midfielder has been a notable leader on the pitch ever since.

The 29-year-old has been in particularly inspiring of late, bagging a rather impressive nine goal contributions in his last six appearances in all competitions - including three in the 4-2 win over Sheffield United last weekend, in a game which he played in despite suffering a broken bone in his hand.

Ahead of what promises to be a summer of upheaval at Man Utd under new ownership group INEOS - with Ten Hag's position as the club manager being up-in-the-air - ex-Man Utd star Mata, speaking to ESPN, has insist the Red Devils need to re-build around their inspirational captain Fernandes:

"I can tell you that for me, there is a great leader in there right now, which is the captain, Bruno," said Mata.

"I should tell to all young players to look up to him. I cannot tell you how important he is for the club and not only because of what he's done in the last games, scoring two goals and winning the game [vs. Sheffield United], but his consistency within the years that he's been playing for the club is just incredible.

Bruno Fernandes
Star man / Michael Regan/GettyImages

"He's a top, top player, but he's even better as a person. So for me, the culture of the club should be built around him. He's a great example for all the new generation, the players that are playing now for the team, [Alejandro] Garnacho, [Kobbie] Mainoo, [Rasmus] Hojlund, to look up to him the way he trains, the way he behaves.

"For me, he's the one that is always there for the team. He can play better or worse, but he's always there with the right attitude. And for me, that's what being a Manchester United player is."

Fernandes will be hoping he can lift his first trophy as Man Utd captain at the end of the 2023/24 season, with the club being set to face off against inner-city rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.