I wanted to give 18-year-old Ethan Wheatley debut goal – Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has revealed he spent the final few minutes of Manchester United’s 4-2 Premier League win over Sheffield United trying to create a goal for debutant Ethan Wheatley.

It was a special night for the club’s academy as Wheatley, fresh from scoring for the under-18s as they beat Manchester City to lift the Premier League Cup on Tuesday night, came off the bench late on to become the 250th academy graduate to make his debut for United.

By the time he did so, Erik ten Hag’s side had twice come from behind to lead the relegation-battling Blades 4-2, with Fernandes scoring two and laying on another for Rasmus Hojlund.

With the Yorkshire side’s resistance finally broken, Fernandes pulled Wheatley aside and said he would do his best to set up a goal-scoring opportunity during the nine minutes of time added on.

“I think at the end of the game I got a little too erratic to give him (Wheatley) a goal because, like I said, he’s a young kid coming through the academy and I know the moment is massive for him,” Fernandes told MUTV.

“Getting a goal in his first appearance would have been massive. I couldn’t give the assist, but I tried and at moments rushed it a little bit too much.”

With injuries hitting Ten Hag’s squad, the manager has frequently relied on academy players to supplement his first-team squad and Wheatley was joined on the bench by Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Louis Jackson, who all played 45 minutes of Tuesday’s under-18s match.

“It’s probably an amazing feeling for (Wheatley),” Fernandes added. “I’ve been a kid myself, although I didn’t come through an academy to play for the first team like he’s doing.

“He should be really proud, I hope he had family and friends here today to see it because it’s a moment not to forget. It’s something he’ll always remember.

“Many of them (the young players) have been on the bench and they still haven’t had their chance, so if he plays today, it’s because the manager has trust in him.

“And even the other ones who are on the bench, we all trust them, we all think they have the qualities to come on, even play in the first XI to give us help.”

Defeat for Sheffield United leaves them 10 points from safety with four games remaining, having now conceded 92 goals, surpassing Derby’s previous record of 89 in a 38-game top-flight season.

Relegation has long appeared inevitable and Chris Wilder said he and his staff are now looking at ways to rebuild the squad for life in the Championship.

“It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be intense,” Wilder said. “We have to get it right. There’s a lot of players out of contract, a lot of players returning to their parent clubs and a lot of situations in terms of availability of players.

“We have to make big decisions. There’s options in there. I think it’s always been looked at that this might be an opportunity to rebuild, especially in the position we’re in and the points total we’ve got, to rebuild a side again to be successful and to play how we want to play.”

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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