Fernandes chooses new Man Utd shirt number and explains decision

The Portuguese midfielder has finally been given his preferred number after Juan Mata’s exit.

Bruno Fernandes will wear the No.8 shirt for Manchester United next season.

The Portuguese midfielder had been wearing the No.18 for the Red Devils since his arrival from Sporting CP in January 2020.

However, he had his eye on his new number and has finally been able to take it ahead of the coming campaign.

Fernandes wore the No.8 jersey at Udinese, Sporting CP and the Portugal national team.

He admitted that he wanted the same number at United, but it was occupied by Juan Mata.

Now that Mata has left Old Trafford following the expiration of his contract, Fernandes has moved to snap up his preferred digit.

“The last three years I have played as No.8 because it’s the number my father had as a player and my birthday and it’s the number I like,” Fernandes said when quizzed on why he picked No.18 when he joined United.

“Number 18 is also the birthday of my wife and another reason is, when I grew up, I saw Paul Scholes playing in it and for me having this shirt and this number of an amazing player is something I will enjoy.

“I know I have a lot of responsibility.”

Fernandes already has the number tattooed on his arm.

Paul Ince was the first player to be designated as United’s No.8 when fixed shirt numbers were introduced in 1993.

Nicky Butt then held the, as did Wayne Rooney before he switched to No.10 in 2007, while midfielder Anderson also wore it.

Mata then had the number from 2015 until his departure this year.

United this week signed Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord in a deal worth an initial £13 million ($16m).

The club confirmed on Thursday that the left-back will don the No.12 shirt next season.