Bruno Fernandes’ gesture to Ethan Wheatley after he pulled him to one side on Man Utd debut sums him up

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes pulled 18-year-old debutant Ethan Wheatley to one side during their Premier League clash against Sheffield United – and the exchange sums up his character.

Wheatley, who scored twice for United under-18’s this week as they beat Manchester City, made history on Wednesday night by becoming the 250th academy player to appear for the club’s first-team.

The teenager replaced Rasmus Hojlund with eight minutes of time remaining as Erik ten Hag’s men held a 4-2 lead thanks to goals from Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes [2] and Hojlund.

He didn’t have much time to stamp his authority on the game, although teammate Fernandes was desperate to get him involved. In fact, the Portuguese midfielder opened up about trying to assist Wheatley in a brilliant post-match interview.

“I think at the end of the game I got a bit too erratic to try and give him a goal,” he told MUTV.

“It’s a young kid coming through the academy, I know the moment is massive for him and I think getting a goal in his first appearance would be massive. I couldn’t give the assist to him, I tried, at moments I rushed it a little bit too much but I’m sure that in the future if he gets more chances, he will get goals too.”

Fernandes added that the youngster should be “really proud of himself” after making his first-team debut. “I hope he had his family and friends here today to see him because it’s a moment to not forget,” he added. “It’s something he will always remember.”

Wheatley also spoke to Manchester United’s official channel after the final whistle and in his interview, the Stockport-born striker gave an insight into Fernandes’ on-field chat.

“He pulled me to the side and said: ‘I’ve got nine minutes to try to get you a goal’. So I was just trying to get into positions for him and obviously it didn’t come, but hopefully soon.”

Wheatley also said it was an “honour” to represent his boyhood club. “I was just excited and when I got the call [to come on], there were a bit of nerves,” he added. “But as soon as I was stripped and ready to go, I was excited and did my best for the team.”

Years of hard work and dedication goes into this moment.

Ethan Wheatley makes his senior United debut 👏#MUFC || #MUAcademy

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 24, 2024

Years of hard work and dedication goes into this moment.

Ethan Wheatley makes his senior United debut 👏#MUFC || #MUAcademy

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 24, 2024

There hasn’t been a matchday squad without a Manchester United academy graduate involved since 1937, and Erik ten Hag spoke about that fact after Wednesday’s win.

“Credit to the academy, but you also see the club is growing,” he said. “It’s clear, we are improving, players are coming up to the first-team. We are very pleased the 250th academy player made his debut tonight.”

Featured Image Credit: MUTV – Getty Images