‘The captain sits next to me’

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‘The captain sits next to me’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shocks Bruno Fernandes in press conference by revealing he will skipper Manchester United against PSG with Harry Maguire ruled out
Manchester United face PSG to start their 2020-21 Champions League campaign
Harry Maguire has been ruled-out with an injury after the 4-1 win at Newcastle
Fernandes will wear the armband instead of the Englishman on Tuesday night
The midfielder was taken by surprise by the announcement in front of the press

The raised eyebrows said it all. Bruno Fernandes had just become the first professional footballer to be appointed captain on a Zoom press conference call.

From a room deep within Parc des Princes, Fernandes’ surprise was plain to see as he sat alongside Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last night.

Who is going to wear the armband in Paris tonight in the absence of injured skipper Harry Maguire? Solskjaer was asked by the media.

‘The captain sits next to me,’ he replied rather dramatically. ‘Bruno will captain the team tomorrow.’

Apparently no one had thought of informing Fernandes himself. The midfielder’s pride was mixed with a sense of shock.

‘I was not expecting this,’ he exclaimed. ‘I found out this the same time as you!

‘It is an honour and an important achievement for me.

‘But the captain is everyone — everyone needs to help and be a leader in their way.’

The 26-year-old playmaker is no stranger to the role. He was captain of Sporting Lisbon before moving to Old Trafford in January and has exuded a sense of leadership wherever he has played in his career.

Although United were forced to deny reports that Fernandes had been critical of team-mates during a stormy half-time exchange in the 6-1 defeat against Tottenham earlier this month, he certainly has that in his locker.

‘I think I grew up like this,’ he added last night. ‘It’s the way I have to be in life and in football too. It’s my character.

‘Sometimes it’s too much and sometimes other players are less confident. I think I can help the team with the way I am.

Victor Lindelof v Neymar

Lindelof will lead United’s defence in the absence of Harry Maguire and has the job of keeping Neymar quiet. If he can get to grips with the Brazil star, there is also the searing pace of Kylian Mbappe to worry about.

Bruno Fernandes v Danilo Pereira

Pereira is expected to make his PSG debut after signing on loan from FC Porto before the international break, and his duel with Portuguese compatriot Fernandes could be a significant factor in deciding the outcome.

Luke Shaw v Angel Di Maria

Old Trafford flop Di Maria has inflicted damage on United before in the colours of Real Madrid and PSG, and will be highly motivated to do so again. Shaw will have his work cut out to stop the Argentine.

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