Former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher believes a Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes partnership will work, but says they may need to make “sacrifices”.
Pogba was out with an ankle injury when Fernandes arrived from Sporting Lisbon in January, but the France midfielder is now back to full fitness as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prepares his side for the Premier League’s return.
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Fletcher, who appeared on Friday’s MUTV Group Chat to discuss a range of topics, says the pair may need to make sacrifices in their own game to benefit the team.
Tottenham vs Man Utd
June 19, 2020, 8:00pm
When asked if Pogba and Fernandes could play with each other, Fletcher said: “Without doubt, of course. Great players can come together.
“Somebody might have to sacrifice a little bit of something – that’s part of being in a team, it’s not an individual sport. When you play with a certain midfield, whether it’s a midfield three, you adapt your game to complement each other.
“That’s what I had to do at United. I was in the team with lots of different midfielders, lots of combinations and, if a certain midfielder was playing, I would try to take up positions to allow him to benefit and he would do things to allow me to benefit.
“It’s all about being compatible and recognising the strengths of your fellow team-mates and how to get your best performance, but, ultimately, you might be sacrificing what you do best to allow someone else to excel, which helps the team win.”
‘Fernandes taking responsibility’
Fernandes has hit the ground running since arriving at Old Trafford, registering three goals and four assists in nine appearances so far.
The Portugal midfielder picked up the Premier League’s Player of the Month award for February, and Fletcher believes he has what it takes to make it at United.
“I think he’s been fantastic. His ability has been there for everyone to see. For me, it’s been his personality and his attitude,” Fletcher added.
“He tries things, he tries difficult passes but, when he gives it away, it’s his reaction after he does it. It’s fantastic, his hunger to try and get the ball back. He doesn’t throw his arms up in the air or sulk and moan.
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“He’s bossing people on the pitch, he’s taking responsibility. He’s looked like the epitome of a Manchester United player. He wants to be there, he wants the ball, he demands the ball.
“He’s seen Old Trafford as his theatre and he’s relishing it. He’s sort of been a breath of fresh air with personality more than anything, which is what you need to play for Man United.
“Ability’s not enough. You need personality to play for Manchester United and he epitomises it.”
United continued preparations ahead of the Premier League restart with a pair of friendly matches against West Brom at Old Trafford on Friday. The Championship side won the opening friendly 2-1, while United secured a 3-1 victory in the second.
United are due to face Tottenham away on June 19 – live on Sky Sports – when they will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions.
Watch the Premier League live on Sky Sports
- 64 live games on Sky Sports from provisional restart date of June 17
- 25 games to be made freely available
- New Sky Sports digital innovations also planned to enhance fan experience
The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday June 17 and Sky, the UK’s leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available ‘free to air’ – including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back – for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
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