I committed an error on my first game for Manchester United and was never seen again, but I will always be thankful - soocer442
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I committed an error on my first game for Manchester United and was never seen again, but I will always be thankful



Di’Shon Bernard, a former center back for Manchester United, talks to the Manchester Evening News about his time at Old Trafford, Kobbie Mainoo, Omari Forson, and his new start at Sheffield Wednesday.

He is talking on a laptop in Sheffield Wednesday’s media room at their Middlewood Road training ground. For a moment, Di’Shon Bernard looks down at the keyboard and starts to think about the past.

People have asked him what it was like to play his first game for Manchester United when he was 19 years old in a European game more than 3,500 miles from Old Trafford. United’s next-to-last Europa League group game was against FC Astana in November 2019. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was manager at the time, chose to make a lot of changes and put together a team that looked young.

I committed an error on my first game for Manchester United and was never seen again, but I will always be thankful

People like Axel Tuanzebe, James Garner, Tahith Chong, and Angel Gomes played with Bernard, who had joined United from Chelsea a little more than two years before. That night, a total of six starts were given out.

Unfortunately for Bernard, most people will remember his first game for hitting an own goal that gave Astana all three points. Even so, it didn’t take away from the beauty of an evening he probably won’t forget.

Bernard told the Manchester Evening News, “It was a huge moment for me.” “I think it helped that I made my debut with a lot of boys from the youth team who came up with me, along with some first-team players like Luke Shaw and Lingard.”

“Axel was right next to me.” Many of the boys on the youth team, though, were on the bench, and some played.

I will always remember that moment in Kazakhstan, even though it was a long way away and very cold. It was also easier because I think Kieran McKenna was the coach at the time. He was also the coach of my youth team, which was nice.

Before the team flew to Kazakhstan, Bernard got the feeling that he was going to start the Europa League match. Bernard couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he talked about how he got the start: “We had training sessions before we went on the trip, and I think you could see who was starting and who wasn’t starting. I was on the team that was starting, so I thought, ‘I might actually start this game.'” I was really excited. “It was scary, but I thought I did well.”

The now-23-year-old player had a good time on his United start, but that was the only game he played in for the team before he left Old Trafford last summer. It meant he worked with Erik ten Hag, who is now his boss. When he was hired as United’s manager in April 2022, the Dutchman’s attention to detail and strict attitude to discipline were immediately clear.

“When he first came in, you could see right away what kind of person and manager he was,” Bernard said. It was clear what he wanted and how he wanted it. In everything, he was very clear.

You could also tell he was very responsible because he was always on time. He made sure that everyone was proper, not just on the field, but also off of it. He is a boss who puts a lot of stock in that.”

A lot of the first half of Ten Hag’s first season in charge was lost because Bernard was hurt. During the break in the 2022 World Cup, he was part of the team that went to Spain for a winter training camp.

The center back played in the second half of the first game of the mini tour after coming off the bench during the 4–2 loss to Cadiz. Kobbie Mainoo did the same thing and scored three minutes after coming on.

The academy graduate from Stockport has become a mainstay in United’s middle since then. Bernard doesn’t find it strange.

“Obviously, I was on loan for a few seasons and came back that pre-season (2022) and saw him in training,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘Who is this kid?'” From what he did in practice, you could tell right away that he was going to be a great player.

“He had amazing dribbling skills. He easily got past players and walked like he wasn’t even trying.” From the start, it was clear that he was going to be one of those great players, and I’m happy to see him play for United and do what he’s doing. It’s his due.

“He is one of those kids who doesn’t talk much. He was a little shy when he first joined the first team.” Even now, you can still see that he let his feet speak for him. He has a unique skill.

The way he plays the game makes you think like someone who has been doing it for years; he’s that skilled.” He just works hard and does what he’s told. He’s ready to learn and work hard for the team, which is exactly what I think United needs.

“They need people who are ready to work hard, run around, and pump up the crowd.” I’m thrilled to see what he’s doing.”

Even though Bernard and Mainoo played on the same pitch in Spain in December 2022, it was clear right away that Bernard’s future was going in a different direction. The next month, he went on loan to Portsmouth and then signed for the rest of the season. After injuries slowed him down in the first half of the 2022–23 season, the short-term move to Fratton Park gave him a chance to start his career over again.

Bernard said, “It was a chance for me to show everyone what I could do again.” “The year before, I had a good loan and played a lot of games in the Championship with Hull City when I was young.”

“It was a chance for me to show that I was still alive and good enough to play at this level.” I would jump at the chance to do it again. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone on loan. I’m definitely thankful for that chance.”

Now that Bernard is on the other side of the Pennines, he is wearing Wednesday’s blue and white stripes. He joined on a free move last summer, leaving Old Trafford to find a place to settle down and a team he could call home.

Bernard, who seemed mature, said, “Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out for everyone who plays for United, but that’s just how it is; everyone’s journey is different.” “Unfortunately, mine wasn’t at United. I just needed to go somewhere where I could play a lot of games and get back on track.”

“I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday was the best place for me to do that.” Everyone has had a rough season, but I’ve been playing a lot of games and showing everyone what I can do, so I’m grateful that Wednesday gave me the chance.

Bernard was in danger of getting a first relegation just a few months after coming to Hillsborough. The Owls lost all 10 of their first games and only earned two points. Manager Xisco Munoz was fired, even though he had only been hired in July.

His replacement was Danny Rohl, a highly rated 34-year-old who used to work as Hansi Flick’s assistant coach at Bayern Munich and with Germany. Rohl has changed Wednesday’s luck so much that they now have a very good chance of staying alive. His view on football and that of his helper, Henrik Pedersen, has opened Bernard’s eyes. He thinks he has become better because of the German’s leadership.

“To be fair,” Bernard said of Rohl’s time in office, “it has been really good.” “The way he and Henrik understand the game has really changed what and how football can be played for everyone.”

“I’m willing to play for him in any role he needs me to because he believes in me.” This is clear in my traits and in the traits of everyone else. Everyone has faith and trust in him, which will always make us play better.

Bernard boldly replied, “Yes, I think so, 100%,” when asked if Rohl was getting the best out of him. Bringing the ball out from the back is something I’m used to doing, and the fact that he can see it makes me more likely to do it.

“To be honest, it makes me look a little better and makes us better as a team.” I can show everyone that I’m a good defender who knows how to bring the ball up, play through the thirds, and play through the lines. It’s been good.

Bernard is out of contract at Hillsborough in the summer, but he’s not the only player on Wednesday who has ties to United. It’s safe to say that both Reece James and Ashley Fletcher have lived in M16 and gone through the school. During his time with the Owls in late 2021, Mainoo also practiced on the same fields as Bernard.

Mainoo was one of three young United players who trained with Wednesday’s first team as part of the Reds’ Pro Experience Program. This program let young players get out of Carrington and train with first-team sides to get a feel for the professional game.

Wednesday forward Josh Windass just recently said that Mainoo was one of the players who came to Sheffield. Bernard said he didn’t know about it until last month, when a friend from the Owls told him.

Bernard said, “To be honest, I didn’t even know they were here until I heard when you kind of heard! I believe that program began a little while after my first or second loan. There was no such thing going on when I was in the youth ranks.

“That’s something else I like that they do. The young guys get a taste of football for adults, even though they know that Under-23s is not how the game is played. It’s not always high-flying sports; sometimes it’s down-to-earth. There is a good project going on, though.

People who went on the United journey with Bernard are still in touch with him. One of these people is Omari Forson, who started his first game for the club against Fulham last month. Since both of them were from London, Bernard and the player became close while playing together at Old Trafford.

“I still keep in contact with Omari,” he stated. “He shared a room with me when he first joined United, so I still talk to him.” That he’s getting a few minutes here and there makes me proud.

“He began a while back. He is also from London, so I’m happy to see what he is doing. When I got hurt last year and had to train with him, I think I was always on him to make sure he was doing well. He had a lot of promise, and I’m glad he’s now with the first team and can show what he can do.

“I think he should keep his head down now.” That’s not enough for him; he needs to keep looking for the next game and the next game and the next game. I hope he can stay there and play there for a truly long time.”

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