Varane: Ten Hag showing he’s not scared with captain decision (1:12)

Raphael Varane speaks about Erik ten Hag’s decision to strip Harry Maguire of Man United’s captaincy. (1:12)

Rob Dawson, CorrespondentJul 22, 2023, 05:30 PM ET

Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes has praised the way Harry Maguire has handled losing the Manchester United captaincy.

Maguire was stripped of the armband by manager Erik ten Hag in a private meeting at Carrington ahead of the preseason tour of the United States.

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Fernandes has admitted it is a “difficult” situation for Maguire, but has praised the way the England defender has handled the news.

“He gave me congratulations and he said he is really happy for me,” said Fernandes when asked about Maguire’s reaction.

“I understand his position is not the best at the moment. It has to be difficult for him but he came and said congratulations to me and I am happy about that because we have always had a good relationship.”

After the announcement was made that Maguire would no longer be captain, Ten Hag waited until the first stop of the tour in New Jersey to name Fernandes as the new skipper.

“He spoke in front of the whole group,” said Fernandes. “He wanted to do it in front of everyone.”

“Everyone already knew about the situation with H [Harry Maguire] but no one knew who would be the next captain so he did it in a team meeting with everyone together because it’s something we have to do more often, to keep the things inside and give the compliments inside to ourselves.

“Obviously it’s a big honour and it’s something that I didn’t dream about. It’s over your dreams but it’s something for me and my family, because they have been with me all this time, and it’s a proud moment for everyone.”

With Maguire regularly left out of the team, Fernandes filled in as captain for most of last season.

He has occasionally been criticised for the way he has led United – particularly in the aftermath of the 7-0 defeat to Liverpool in March – but the midfielder has vowed to maintain his fiery attitude now he’s got the armband full-time.

“I think I have to be the same because that is what has brought me to be the captain at this moment,” he added.

“That is what the manager has decided because he likes the way I am and the way I act and train and the way I play so I have to keep doing the same things.

“You have to improve stuff in your game day by day but I am happy with what I have been doing and I have to keep that standard.”