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'Fernandes & Maguire are irreplaceable' - Solskjaer can't afford to rest key Man Utd duo, says Neville

09:15 GMT 24/12/2020
Bruno Fernandes, Man Utd 2020-21
A club legend has heaped praise upon the two men he believes to be the most important members of the current Red Devils squad

Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire are "irreplaceable", according to Gary Neville, who says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can't afford to rest the Manchester United duo.

Fernandes has built on an impressive start to life in Manchester by establishing himself as the team's driving force in the final third at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

The Portuguese, who moved to Old Trafford from Sporting CP in a €55 million (£49m/$67m) deal back in January, has contributed 13 goals and seven assists to United's cause in his first 20 appearances this term.

His performances have helped Solskjaer's side rise to third in the Premier League standings, and he was in the starting line-up for a Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Everton on Wednesday night.

Fernandes played the full 90 minutes of the Red Devils' 2-0 victory at Goodison Park, as did club captain Maguire, who did an admirable job of keeping in-form Toffees striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin quiet.

Maguire faced some criticism in the early stages of the season after a string of sub-par displays, but has gradually got back to his best level, and Neville thinks his continued presence will be vital to United's chances of success in 2021.

A member of the fabled Class of '92 squad thinks the England international is equally as important to Solskjaer's set-up as Fernandes, with the Norwegian head coach considered to be in a tough spot when it comes to rotating the two players heading into a crucial period.

Neville, who enjoyed an illustrious career at Old Trafford spanning 19 years, said on his Sky Sports Podcast: "They are the two players who I think are irreplaceable. Fernandes is irreplaceable, they are a way off without him. He’s a vital piece of the jigsaw.

"Maguire, I think, you’d know if he was missing. My gut feeling is that they would miss him enormously.

"I know some people say he’s not the best defender in the league, that he’s not done brilliantly since he came for £80m, but he’s a big presence in the heart of the defence.

"He’s good on the ball, he’s composed and he’s good in the air. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, sometimes he gets caught but he’s a good centre-back, a really good centre-back and a big presence in that team.

"Him and Fernandes, I’m not sure they can [rest them] at this moment in time because Ole hasn’t got the luxury to lose a game, unfortunately."

Fernandes and Maguire will both be back in action when the Red Devils take in a trip to Leicester City on Boxing Day.