Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed asking Cristiano Ronaldo for a reference before signing Bruno Fernandes in January.
Solskjaer turned to his former team-mate for his opinion on Fernandes, his fellow Portuguese international, ahead of the £47million move that has helped Manchester United compete for a Champions League place.
Fernandes, ahead of Monday’s Premier League fixture against Southampton, has scored five goals in six games since football’s return following the coronavirus pandemic and has made an immediate impact since Solskjaer signed him after Ronaldo’s seal of approval.
“You speak to team-mates from the national team,” said Solskjaer on the The High Performance Podcast. “Obviously Cristiano was an easy go-to for me, that I managed to get through Patrice to get hold of Cristiano and his recommendation obviously stands him in good stead.”
Solskjaer says Fernandes, 25, is one of the leaders in his United squad along with captain Harry Maguire and England forward Marcus Rashford. His January signing made a good first impression before he had made his debut when he arrived at the club’s Carrington training ground.
“Bruno, coming in and the impact he has made, you can see he is a leader because players following him,” Solskjaer said. “They say ‘wow’. That was the little spark we needed earlier on this season from being a team that should have won games to winning games.
“He’s got the talent, of course. You can see the quality is there. We’ve seen that for a long time but he does it when it matters, he’s delivered crosses, assists, scored goals, taken penalties, he’s done everything you’d expect in a short space of time.
“Off the field, in training he demands off me, he demands off his team-mates. The first day he was in the club, he shook every staff member by the hand. He didn’t some in here thinking ‘I’m the big shot, you follow me’.”