Steve McManaman explains why he snubbed Bruno Fernandes from Team of the Year

Steve McManaman has explained the reasons behind omitting Bruno Fernandes from his Team of the Year – while making a subtle dig about his penalty record.

The Manchester United superstar has enjoyed a stunning first year in English football, since his transfer from Sporting in the January window.

After making his debut on February 1, Fernandes has become a talisman for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

His goals and assists guided them into the top-four last season and have played a key role in their title push this time around.

Bruno Fernandes has enjoyed a remarkable first year for Man Utd

In total, the 26-year-old has a quite staggering 43 goal involvements in his opening 45 matches for the club, including an assist in his final game of 2020 against Wolves.

But despite that remarkable form, former Liverpool star McManaman snubbed him from his end of year XI, claiming he would pick Kevin De Bruyne over him “every day”.

Alongside the Manchester City star, the Amazon Prime pundit selected Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Fabinho for their role in the Reds’ historic title winning campaign in 2019/20.

Asked about leaving Fernandes out, he said: “I think he’s been incredible for them, I really do, but my team of the year needed to be with Fabinho and Henderson because they won the league by many, many points.

Steve McManaman could find no place for the Portugal star

“Then I’ve flung Kevin De Bruyne in because I just think he’s fantastic.

“If I have to choose between Kevin De Bruyne as my attacking midfielder, or Bruno Fernandes, De Bruyne wins every time.”

McManaman then made a gentle dig about Fernandes’ record from the spot, with 14 of his goals for the club coming from 12 yards.

He added: “I think he’s had an incredible impact for Manchester United, scoring an incredible amount of penalties.”

McManaman did make reference to Fernandes’ record from the penalty spot

However, Fernandes did earn a place in the final team of 2020, with Peter Crouch and Alan Shearer managing to find a place for the United ace.

Reflecting on his own first year, Fernandes admitted that his only major regret was failing to bring a major piece of silverware back to Old Trafford.

He told BT Sport: “I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I enjoy [being at] one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“It was a dream come true to come to the Premier League, to come to a club I have always dreamed of playing for.

“Of course, it was better for me when I could play and enjoy my games with the fans.

“When I arrived, at the time it was the FA Cup and the Europa League, and we had the chance to get into the top four in the league.

“Unfortunately, we went out in two semi-finals but we achieved third place in the league. The only thing I’ve missed in this year is the trophies.

“I don’t have trophies for the club and I’m not happy about that. I hope 2021 can be better in that way.”

Will Man Utd win a major trophy in 2021? Have your say here.

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