Bruno: We have to help young players


Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United controls the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford on April 24, 2024 in Manchester, England.

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes says it’s up to the first team to provide an environment for our Academy graduates to flourish.

The skipper knows all about the importance of United’s famed youth system, which celebrated its 250th graduate making the first team this week.

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo are among those who have had a real impact for Erik ten Hag’s side this season, with the pair named in United’s last 19 Premier League starting line-ups, dating back to November.

Bruno is clearly impressed with the two teenagers but thinks there will be more to see from them, and other youngsters, as the Reds improve together.

“At this club, you are used to having young players coming through the Academy and you’re used to the club buying young players that they feel can have a future at the club. You just mentioned two of them,” he said, in response to a question about Alejandro and Kobbie.

“They’ve been playing most and they’ve been doing well. They’ve been doing great things.

“But, when the team is playing better, it’s going to create an even better place for them to [continue their] development and to be a better player. To be in a better place, being more confident, having more trust and playing even better.

“Even if they’re doing well, I think there is always space for improvement for everyone, but obviously when the team improves, everyone else improves individually.”

Garnacho has become a sure starter for Ten Hag this term, after being effective off the bench last season, while Mainoo has recovered from a serious injury to cement a place in United’s midfield.

Both players will hope to be involved for their countries [Argentina and England respectively] in international tournaments this summer.

Omari Forson and Willy Kambwala have been valuable squad members in 2024, while Dan Gore and Ethan Wheatley have also made the step up. Bruno recognises that the club’s impressive history of developing talent weighs heavily but believes others can help.

“I think the team needs to step up in certain moments to also make them feel confident to have their bad moments, their bad games, or even to let them have less pressure on themselves to be the players that have to make the difference in certain moments.

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“I think they’ve been really good; they’ve been improving themselves. It’s just the first steps. They need to keep going, because obviously the expectations are going to grow, game by game, season by season.

“And we all know that at this club that they all expect a lot from the youngest, even more when they come from the Academy, because it’s part of the history of the club, and they have a big responsibility on their shoulders.”

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