Fred Will Have an Important Role to Play Under The Leadership of Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.


Fred has improved his game this season after years of disagreements between fans, as Erik ten Hag used him differently than his predecessors at Manchester United.

Part of this deployment led to a reduction in the Brazilian’s playing time: the infamous duo “Mcfred” was ousted by the summer contracts of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen.

But it gave Fred a new meaning as a team player, his boundless energy was often used to finish matches and offer dynamism in midfield when Eriksen starts to get tired in the second half of games.

He has also been used to counter specific threats, most notably against Manchester City, where his job in custody of Kevin de Bruyne left Erling Haaland with a supply shortage.

This is a role he may well play later today, where Arsenal’s main playmaker Martin Edegor may be undone by a little special attention from Shakhtar Donetsk.

As noted by The Athletic journalist Carl Anka, the arrival of Casemiro has brought Fred a huge benefit this season.

The combination of Scott McTominay and Fred has often been used in recent years to provide some form of cover for a defense that has often buckled under pressure without a specialist holding midfielder in front of them.

Since Casemiro covers the defense, Fred’s game fits the description of “all actions”, and not “headless chicken”, as it was once known.

Fred is considered in Brazil a “Segundo volante”, a secondary midfielder who can contribute at all stages of the game without being tied to any particular duty. As a self-proclaimed “piano carrier” for the more artistic players on the team, Fred can be crucial in helping his teammates on the field.

It was for this reason that he often flourished in the Brazilian national team, even when his form at Old Trafford aroused suspicion.

Now, with perhaps the world’s best bat pit next to him, Fred can provide a valuable opportunity for Eric ten Hag, even when the state of the game presents difficulties.

In fact, Fred hasn’t changed much, but his teammates have helped his qualities manifest themselves more consistently. As Anka says, “the ceiling of his personal talent has remained the same, but the floor has grown around him.”

Now the question will be how he is doing without Casemiro, who was suspended from United’s trip to the Emirates.

Ten Hag may well be forced to revive the Mcfred partnership with Eriksen in front of them and Bruno Fernandes on the right to somewhat reflect the game plan that was so successful against Man City.

Will the floor fall around Fred and he with him? Or can the midfielder be at his best without his international colleague by his side?


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