Man United signing Christian Eriksen CAN’T play in same XI as Bruno Fernandes, says Murphy


Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes CAN’T play together for Man United, claims Danny Murphy, with the new signing ‘likely to be warming the bench at Old Trafford because he isn’t on the same level as the Portuguese star’

  • Manchester United completed the free signing of Christian Eriksen last week 
  • Danish star, 30, became the second arrival of the Erik ten Hag era at Old Trafford
  • He will compete with – or maybe play alongside – Bruno Fernandes in No 10 role
  • But Danny Murphy doesn’t believe it would be sensible to play them together 

Danny Murphy doesn’t believe Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen can play together at Manchester United and instead feels the Dane will be reduced to cameos from the bench at Old Trafford.

Eriksen, 30, became the second signing of the Erik ten Hag era at United when he joined on a free transfer last week after he turned down the chance to stay at Brentford.

It capped a remarkable comeback to the highest level for the midfielder after he suffered a cardiac arrest playing for Denmark at last year’s European Championship.

Christian Eriksen has arrived at United this summer

Christian Eriksen (right) has signed for Manchester United but there are doubts over whether he’ll be able to play alongside Bruno Fernandes (left) in the No 10 role

talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy has his doubts over whether the pair will dovetail at United

talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy has his doubts over whether the pair will dovetail at United

But former England international Murphy believes Ten Hag would be foolish to play both Eriksen and regular No 10 Fernandes in the same side because it would leave United vulnerable defensively.

He told talkSPORT: ‘I think United are going to play one No 10. If you think you’re going to get Eriksen and Fernandes in a midfield three and be able to compete with teams athletically and defensively, you’ve got no chance.

‘He’ll play his share of games because you don’t have the same XI for a season, we know that.

‘You will see the rotation and it’s five subs this season as well so there is going to be impact off the bench but he is not going to play ahead of Fernandes.

‘Some people might prefer him to Fernandes but his numbers don’t suggest he is on Fernandes’ level.’

Eriksen became Erik ten Hag's second signing since becoming Manchester United manager

Eriksen became Erik ten Hag’s second signing since becoming Manchester United manager

He lined up for Brentford at Old Trafford last season - but now has signed for the Red Devils

He lined up for Brentford at Old Trafford last season – but now has signed for the Red Devils

It comes after Murphy suggested last week that Eriksen would be little more than a ‘squad player’ at United.

‘I really like Eriksen, I’ve always admired him in terms of his creativity and the way he plays his football,’ Murphy told talkSPORT.

‘He tries things, he’s good at set-plays, two good feet but would it excite me if I was a United fan? He’s going to be a squad player, isn’t he? 

‘He could change a game, yes, that’s fair. He could come off the bench and change a game but is he going to bring United closer to Liverpool and City? Nowhere near it.

‘In the cold light of day, if they want to be competitive against Liverpool, City and Chelsea, or even just Liverpool and City, that’s not the type of signing United should be making.’  

The Danish international suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Euro 2020 last summer

The Danish international suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Euro 2020 last summer

Portugal international Fernandes scored 10 goals and provided 14 assists for United in what was a thoroughly underwhelming 2021-22 campaign.

That was a reduction on the 28 goals and 17 assists he supplied for United the season prior under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ten Hag may be tempted to set United up in a 4-1-2-3 formation, with Eriksen and Fernandes forming a ‘double 10’ with a single holding midfielder behind.

However, on the evidence of their two pre-season friendlies so far, Ten Hag will favour the more familiar 4-2-3-1 shape with Fernandes positioned ahead of two deeper players, such as Fred and Scott McTominay.

Fernandes and United endured a frustrating 2021-22 campaign but he still scored 10 goals

Fernandes and United endured a frustrating 2021-22 campaign but he still scored 10 goals

United are still pursuing the Barcelona and Holland midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who has been top of Ten Hag’s wish list all summer.

While the two clubs have agreed a transfer fee of £71.5million, De Jong is reluctant to leave Barcelona despite their need to sell him to ease their financial problems.

As well as Eriksen, United have also signed Tyrell Malacia, the left-back, and have reached an agreement with Ajax to buy Lisandro Martinez for £55m.

They return to action against Crystal Palace at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

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