Bruno Fernandes is “nowhere near Paul Scholes and never will be”, says Manchester United legend Johnny Giles, with the Portuguese considered to be “more like Frank Lampard”.
With an immediate impact having been made in English football on the back of a January switch from Sporting, the 25-year-old playmaker has been showered with praise at Old Trafford.
Comparisons have been made between Fernandes and United great Scholes, with both men operating in the middle of the park.
Giles is not buying that, however, with the iconic graduate from the Class of ’92 considered to be a class above those that have followed in his footsteps – including a star turn in the present.
The former Red Devils midfielder, who spent six years with the club between 1957 and 1963, told The Mirror: “It does bother me when I hear people talking about Fernandes being the next Scholes and the perfect midfield player.
“That is not the case. He is nowhere near Scholes and never will be. People at the club will be kidding themselves if they believe he is going to do what Scholes did. He doesn’t play anywhere near the way Scholes played, even in a positional sense.
“Scholes was one of the best midfielders I have seen who could connect the team from back to front. He was the best I have seen at that for a long time, especially when he was playing with Roy Keane, David Beckham, and Ryan Giggs.
“He was the one who knitted it all together, and was one of the great midfield players, so I don’t think Fernandes is a Scholes.
“Fernandes is a goalscoring midfield player. He should be an asset to the club, but not in the way he is being described at the moment.
“He will be more like a Lampard as, every time I see him, he always has a good shot on him and good ability. He will be a goalscoring midfield player and there is nothing wrong with that. Scoring goals and making goals makes him an asset – but he won’t initiate.”
While eager to avoid finding similarities between Fernandes and Scholes, Giles believes United could find another player in that mould if efforts to prise Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa reach a positive conclusion.
He said of the 24-year-old England hopeful: “Grealish would be more likely to do a Scholes for Manchester United than Fernandes.
“He plays on one side or the other for Villa, but I would like to see him playing in the middle.
“His control is good, he goes past people, and uses the ball well. He and Fernandes would be chalk and cheese in the way they play. So, Grealish could be coming from a deep position, and picking it up from the back four, and Fernandes would need that to pick him out.
“Fernandes is not going to be picking anyone out from the back. He needs the ball to get to him, then he can do what he is best at.”