Paul Scholes believes Bruno Fernandes is not deserving of PFA Player of the Year this season due to his belief that the winner should come from the title winners.
Fernandes has enjoyed a fine season, scoring 15 times and setting up 11 more, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in second and on course to qualify for the Champions League again.
But with Man City now 15 points clear, Scholes believes the likes of Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan and others will be under consideration for the top individual award of the season due to their impending glory.
That’s despite the last three winners not coming from the champions: Mohamed Salah in 2018, Virgil Van Dijk in 2019 and Kevin De Bruyne in 2020.
“What he’s brought to this United team has been special,” the former United midfielder told Optus Sport. “He creates goals, scores – not in the big games! – but in a lot of them.
“Ultimately, at Man United you are there to win titles and big games and he has to be a bigger influence than that.
“I could give him a bit of an excuse with United’s centre-halves – to me, they need protecting too much, especially in the big games against proper forward players.
“(The central midfielders) sit too deep and he doesn’t get the support from the midfield players, which is important to him.
“It is not just the ability he has got, he needs bodies around him to take people away, so he can come into spaces, be a player who is controlling midfield, and that brings the best out of him.
“This will be a problem for United until they solve it. They need to sign a centre-half who is dominant, takes the ball off people, look what City have done with [Ruben] Dias… all the teams that have won the league in recent years: [Vincent] Kompany, [Virgil] Van Dijk.
“He should be right in the mix (for PFA Player of the Year), there is no doubt about that, but I am always a believer the best players are the players playing for the team that wins the league and there are a few City players I’d go for before Bruno.”