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Fred and Scott McTominay
English Premier League Football

Does Fred have a long-term future at Manchester United?

Fred and Scott McTominay

Football has been graced by many spectacular skilful starlets from Brazil. Manchester United’s purchase of Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos ie Fred for a whopping 52 million pounds, was an attempt to add a tinge of that flavour to their reeling midfield.

In 2018, when Jose Mourinho sanctioned his purchase, several critics raised questions over the player’s credentials. Especially with the availability of alternatives like Fabinho, Rodri, Partey, Ndidi, it remains a mystery how Fred was one of Jose’s last signings.

Lately, the Brazilian has managed to find a fairly consistent run in the team with fixtures coming in thick and fast.

Injuries to first-choice midfielders like Pogba has additionally helped Fred’s case. However, he’s yet to justify the huge price tag. Fred has further always had questions over performances raised, as he walks back after the final whistle.

Tough early days at Manchester United

Coming in from a side like FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the Brazilian’s reputation mostly comes from Champions League performances. Just like any foreign player, time and patience are prerequisites. The performance graphs of like-minded Brazilians like Jesus, who found himself warming the bench for most of his initial days. adds weight to the theory.

Fred’s first season was pretty much the same especially with the defensive woes in. Jose was reluctant to throw the new player into the cement mixer. He found little favour in Ole’s early days as well, making crucial appearances against Arsenal. Of all his numbers, only an 87% pass completion rate was a respectable statistic.

This season is supposed to be the determining one, with immediate success becoming more and more elemental. Coming fresh off his wedding. Fred arrived a bit late into the pre-season and hence had to put in the extra hours to train and get himself ready.

Time for Fred to step up

Fred has since featured in the majority of fixtures this season. The numbers, however, are not on his side as he has only 1 assist to show. Often guilty of losing possession and misplacing passes, he’s failed to make an impact as his fellow Brazilian in Fabinho.

His compatriot McTominay has improved massively, making further strides. It’s important that Fred feeds off his confidence and makes up for the creative void ahead of them with the likes of Mata, Lingard, Martial and Pereira struggling to find any rhythm.

Fred has looked more comfortable in a 3-5-2 as he has better cover in behind, that gives him more freedom to venture forward. On the contrary in a 4-2-1–3, he has failed to act as an effective defensive screen and turn over possession.

The curve could be on the rise and the backroom staff have reportedly been putting extra work into Fred, towards making him a hit at Old Trafford. Consistency remains key although the recent game against Brighton might arguably be his most effective display yet.

  • 100% aerial duels won
  • 12 ball recoveries (First in the team) and 9 coming in one half
  • 3/3 long balls 
  • 1 through ball

However, football is not just a game of numbers and his nimble feet and a high tempo game certainly pushes the fans to the edge of the seats. His trigger pulling from outside the box will hopefully translate into goals for they would be spectacular ones.

His free-kick attempts have not been far off from making the highlight reel either. Early days can be for adaptation in a new, more competitive league but with current circumstances at Manchester United and Ole in a tough spot, it’s imperative that Fred finds his feet fast.

For if not, his sale might be imminent. 

Written By: Keerthan Chandra.


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