Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe has explained why he dropped Manchester United loan star Alvaro Fernandez.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a fruitful season at Preston so far, making 35 appearances in the Championship and earning plenty of plaudits for his technical ability and maturity.
His dribbling ability and assuredness in possession have led many United fans to believe that Fernandez could play a part in the first team at Old Trafford next season, particularly given Erik ten Hag make look to shuffle his defence around.
But despite having nailed down his position as a starter on loan, young Alvaro could only make the bench in what could prove to be a play-off decider against Millwall at The Den.
A 2-0 loss saw the hosts leapfrog Preston into the play-off places at the visitor’s expense, with the on-loan wingback only coming on with twenty minutes to go, after a poor showing from his replacement Robbie Brady.
“I didn’t want to throw young Alvaro up against the way they play, Millwall and whatnot,” Lowe told Football League World. “I think he’d have got kicked, kicked up and down the park early doors.
“We felt if we put Robbie in he’d be a bit more solid and resolute. He was in there for set plays as well because Rob’s decent in the air, I’m not saying Alvaro isn’t.
“The fact of the matter is we’ve got to rotate those two for certain games now because they’re going to be needed along with the other lads as well now because the lads who are playing, they’ll probably be a little bit tired, but we’ve got four games to do something, which will be fantastic.”
The decision did not pay off in the end for Preston and Manchester United fans may well be left wondering if Lowe’s decision is reflective of their promising young player.
Fernandez certainly seems to have the attributes needed to make the grade in the Premier League, but concerns over his ability to handle rough treatment from opponents could undermine such hopes.
But Red Devils fans will be happy to know that the Spanish starlet did well in his cameo, passing and dribbling with confidence, creating a fantastic opportunity for his team, and even winning 100% of his duels.
There is no doubt Alvaro Fernandez will be straight back in the Preston North End side midweek, based on today’s showing.
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