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Christian Eriksen gives crucial injury update as alarming Bruno Fernandes workload emerges

Jan 13, 2024Jan 13, 2024

Bruno Fernandes' gruelling schedule and workload has emerged with the Manchester United midfielder being pushed to his limits as Christian Eriksen recovers as quick as he can

Christian Eriksen has provided Manchester United fans with a positive injury update as his race to be fit as soon as possible steps up.

Two weeks ago, Erik ten Hag confirmed the Denmark international, who has brought stability to United's midfield alongside Casemiro, would return before the end of the season. And now Eriksen has revealed he has ditched his protective boot for a football one.

It means Eriksen has finally returned to grass training - and his comeback much-needed, with Casemiro serving a four-match ban and as United's season comes to a close.

The update also comes as marathon man Bruno Fernandes is set to extend his epic season in Portugal's opening Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein on Thursday. United playmaker Fernandes has played 51 games for club and country this season, more than any other player in world football.

Fernandes has also played more minutes in all competitions than any other player in Europe's top five leagues – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. In terms of minutes, Fernandes has clocked up 3,841 this season. United goalkeeper David De Gea is next on the list with 3,780, with Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr third on 3,600.

In world football, only Croatia and Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic has racked up more minutes than Fernandes, whose energy and stamina is remarkable. Fernandes has played 44 times for United, only missing two games – a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa and a Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Charlton, both because he was suspended.

Had Fernandes not been banned for both of those games, it is likely United boss Erik ten Hag would have picked him for both, meaning he would have played every game for the Red Devils. It is testament to the enduring value of Fernandes to United that his is the name that features most regularly on their team-sheet this season and the player on whom Ten Hag relies.

Ten Hag had the option of omitting Fernandes from his starting line-up for the second leg of the Europa League last 16 tie against Real Madrid, with United leading 4-1 from the first leg. Fernandes, like team-mate Casemiro, was a booking away from being banned from the first-leg of the quarter-finals, but his importance to the cause was underlined by Ten Hag picking him.

"He's very strong, has very good recovery, he's a very good athlete and he has so much energy," said Ten Hag, when asked why he picks Fernandes for every game. He can play in so many roles, tactically he's brilliant, we can overload areas and we can outplay opponents.

"We create good situations and chances, he's very important in the counter-press and in transitions. He's a good example for the team. In recent weeks he's been in brilliant form and he looks like he's getting better from game to game."

Since making his United debut on February 1 in 2020, following his £67million move from Sporting Lisbon, Fernandes has missed just one game through injury or illness.

That was United's 3-2 win over Tottenham in March 2022, with the forward virtually an ever-present under bosses Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, interim duo Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick, and Ten Hag.

Fernandes may not be scoring as many as he did in his first full season, when he plundered 28, with just 10 this term, but his consistent selection shows how influential he is in Ten Hag's revival of United.

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