Bruno Fernandes has made a “massive impact” at Manchester United, admits Ryan Giggs, but the Red Devils legend has told a Portuguese midfielder that he needs major silverware in order to stand alongside the likes of Eric Cantona.
Plenty have been quick to place a talismanic 26-year-old in that talent pool at Old Trafford.
Over the course of 12 months in English football, Fernandes has become the go-to man for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when it comes to moments of inspiration.
Another was provided in his most recent outing, with a match-winning free kick crashed home in a 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round clash with Liverpool.
Fernandes had started that contest on the bench, but was introduced as United rolled the dice on home soil and further endeared himself to a fan base that have grown accustomed to seeing enigmatic playmakers lead trophy quests.
Giggs is hoping to see the Red Devils get over that line with Fernandes leading the way, telling Stadium Astro: “Eric, when we won the FA Cup in 95-96, he was the difference. In the big games he would every often be the difference.
“Fernandes undoubtedly has had a massive impact on United. There have been comparisons with Eric and the impact he has had – not just his quality but the fact everyone around him seems to be playing better.
“You can just see he is a winner. When things aren’t going right he is telling other players, he’s having a go at the referee, he is constantly moaning and he wants to win.
“He has been a revelation since he came to United. Like all top players, he has to do it in the big games and then win trophies.”
Giggs added on the comparisons with Cantona: “Of course there are similarities – penalty takers, scoring and assisting goals, same position.
“The results have changed since he came into the club and generally lifted the club. But, Eric won three or four leagues and the FA Cup – that’s the benchmark.
“It’s not easy because there is a lot of quality and not a lot of trophies to win. Once he has done that, then you can talk about him and the likes of Cantona.”
Giggs has also suggested that Fernandes’ impact in Manchester can be likened to that made by Robin van Persie in 2012-13, with the Dutch striker helping United to the last of their 13 Premier League titles following a high-profile switch from Arsenal.
The Welshman said: “Van Persie came for the first season and was scoring so many goals and we won the league that year.
“You can make a difference on a team but sooner or later – and it’s not just his responsibility – the team have got to win things. He’s a fantastic player. I like his attitude, he doesn’t like losing.”