Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards has claimed that although he personally thinks Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes should win this season’s PFA ‘Player of the Year’ award, an unwritten rule among the Citizens could see the Portuguese star snubbed.
Fernandes, 26, joined United a little over 12-months ago after making a £49.5m switch from Sporting Lisbon.
Since his arrival at Old Trafford, even Red Devils fans would not have been able to predict the impact the midfielder has had.
Boasting a seriously impressive goal contribution tally, Fernandes has already racked up a whopping 22 goals and 13 assists in just 38 matches, in all competitions, so far this season.
Domestically, United’s main-man has been directly involved in 26 goals in 25 matches and Richards feel these numbers are the clearest indication that he deserves to be crowned England’s best player.
However, going on to lift the lid on what it’s like for players in the Premier League when the time comes to cast their vote, Richards has admitted Man City players do not vote for their neighbour’s players.
“There was an unwritten rule in Manchester City ’s dressing room during my career when it came to picking the PFA Player of the Year,” Richards told Mail Online. “If someone from Manchester United was in the running but Liverpool or Chelsea had candidates who had performed to a similarly high level, your vote would go to Stamford Bridge or Anfield.
“Politics such as this goes on in every dressing room across the land: you don’t vote for a rival.”
Despite having a long-list of potential candidates among their own ranks, including Ruben Dias and the prolific Ilkay Gundogan, Richards has admitted that if he were still playing, he’d go against club protocol and vote for United’s Fernandes.
“Of course, there were exceptions when you had to acknowledge brilliance,” he revealed. “I remember that I did vote for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007 and Wayne Rooney in 2010 — to do anything else after such outstanding campaigns would have been ridiculous.
“Had I been in that same dressing room now, I would have found myself going against the unwritten rule again.
“There are many fine candidates this year, not least Ruben Dias and Ilkay Gundogan, but the outstanding footballer of 2020-21 is Bruno Fernandes.
“His numbers at this stage of the campaign are frightening for a midfielder: 15 goals, 10 assists.
“Involved in a goal, either scoring or setting up, every 84 minutes. Fernandes has created 71 chances and I don’t believe United would be in the top four without him.
“The real mark of an outstanding player is what he does to others in the team and Fernandes has dragged improvement out of those around him.
“He also has a reputation now. If I’m not watching United and I hear they have scored, I have one thought: it’s Bruno.”
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