Men's Team

Henry Winter hails impact and legacy of 'amazing' Fernandinho

Fernandinho will be remembered as the one of the pre-eminent defensive midfielders to have graced the Premier League, according to Henry Winter, hugely respected chief football writer for the Times.

The Brazilian called time on his glittering City career at the weekend after nine glorious years at the Etihad.

Fittingly, the 37-year-old Club captain bowed out as a winner, lifting the Premier League trophy after our pulsating 3-2 final day win over Aston Villa.

That set the seal on a memorable period which saw Ferna win five Premier League winners’ medals in all, along with six League Cups and the FA Cup.

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But, just as significantly in Winter’s eyes, has been his enormous impact at the Club - both as a driving force at the heart of our midfield as well as helping to guide and mentor his younger City team-mates.

“As a defensive midfielder he read absolutely everything,” reflected Winter.

“But I just think Fernandinho also has this intelligence, and he has obviously learnt so much from playing under Pep Guardiola.

“I can provide one insight into Fernandinho that came during lockdown when City travelled to play Chelsea a couple of years ago.

“Where we were sitting during behind closed doors games in the Stamford Bridge press box, we were actually very close to the action – just about three or four rows back.

“And I remember that Fernandinho was warming up – he did a bit of stretching - but he was also basically mentoring and advising Phil Foden, telling him where to make his runs and what to be aware of.

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“I just saw him there and do see him now as a potential manager – partly because of the way he played the game.

“Yes, he could block people off. But England might have won a World Cup or a trophy if they had had a streetwise player like Fernandinho.

“And to be fair, Brazilian players have always had that streetwise edge. Look at Dunga who won a World Cup as this force in midfield!

“It was fascinating watching him coaching from the touchline and I hope he goes into that.”

Many inside the Club have also spoken of Fernandinho’s huge influence both as a Captain and guiding figure within the squad as well as his wonderful ability and insight.

And, for his part, Winter believes that Fernandinho’s character as well as his sheer quality, combined to mould both the consummate player and ultimate professional.

“I don’t think Fernandinho will be underrated by any of the opposition players who played against him and discovered what an amazing, talented player he was and is,” Winter added.

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“He is an intelligent winner and those are two great qualities that he could take into management.

“To an extent I also think he was like Pablo Zabaleta – he had this energy and enthusiasm, and sheer will to win and you need characters like that.

“Whether the Club will consider putting a statue up to Fernandinho one day I don’t know, but he will always be in the City fans’ hearts.”

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