Man Utd's captain candidates against Liverpool without Bruno Fernandes

  • Man Utd are without club captain Bruno Fernandes follow ban for five yellow cards
  • Manager Erik ten Hag says he knows who will captain Red Devils at Anfield
  • Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Scott McTominay among candidates for armband
Ten Hag has a big captaincy call to make
Ten Hag has a big captaincy call to make / Richard Sellers/Allstar / Contributor / Visionhaus / Contributor / Matthew Peters / Contributor

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has had a different type of decision to make in the build-up to Sunday's Premier League visit to Liverpool.

The depressing 3-0 loss to Bournemouth was compounded by Bruno Fernandes picking up a petulant fifth yellow card of the season, ruling him out of a trip to Anfield where the Red Devils have so often struggled in recent memory.

That means someone new will be taking the armband, but Ten Hag was reticent to name his stand-in skipper in the Portugal international's absence.

"Yes I know [who it will be]," Ten Hag said. "[Will I tell you?] No.

"It is not a secret but, first, I want to tell the player and the team who it is."

Former club captain Harry Maguire might have topped the list of potential candidates had he not been ruled out through injury, while fellow experienced campaigners Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are all unavailable.

Man Utd's captain options vs Liverpool without Bruno Fernandes

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw
Shaw could stand in as captain / Visionhaus/GettyImages

There are few players in the current squad who know the trials and tribulations that come with being a Man Utd player better than Luke Shaw.

The England international has dealt with career-jeopardising injuries and egomaniacal managers who threatened to end his Old Trafford career. Thankfully for Ten Hag, he is fit and at 28 years of age with 268 Man Utd appearances behind him, Shaw would be a straightforward pick for the armband.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford
Rashford has struggled this season / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Things have not been rosy for Marcus Rashford so far this season. Having established himself as one of the best wingers in the world last term, his confidence has suddenly hit rock bottom with only two league goals in 15 outings.

The 26-year-old is United through and through but whether he has the leadership capacity during such a tough run of form makes it doubtful for him to skipper United at Anfield.

Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane
Varane is on the way out at Man Utd / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Raphael Varane is looking more and more likely to leave Man Utd sooner rather than later, having started only four Premier League games so far this season.

However, the former France international has all the experience in the world as a four-time Champions League and 2018 World Cup winner. Ten Hag may opt against this option based on the former Real Madrid star's lack of game time this term, but he remains an obvious candidate.

Scott McTominay

Scott McTominay
McTominay has led from the front for club and country / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

If Ten Hag wants a player who can genuinely lead from the front, he could do a lot worse than pick Scott McTominay.

The midfielder has single-handedly earned the Red Devils wins with his goals so far in 2023/24 and has shown during his recent international commitments with Scotland that he isn't easily scared by hostile atmospheres.

Jonny Evans

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Evans could fill in as skipper / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

While this choice would leave Ten Hag and Man Utd fans open to a lot of ribbing, it actually makes plenty of common sense.

Evans has plenty of experience donning the captain's armband, having done so for Leicester last season and on the international stage with Northern Ireland. At 35 years of age he knows how intimidating an Anfield crowd can be and his role as a centre-back goes hand in hand with the natural leadership needed on big away days such as this.