Carrick talks up Fred before United's clash with Arsenal

Michael Carrick has spoken to the press ahead of what should be his final game as Manchester United caretaker manager.

The plan is for Ralf Rangnick to be in charge for Sunday’s game with Crystal Palace but Carrick will lead United against Arsenal.

Carrick was asked about Fred at his pre-match press conference, streamed live on United’s official app.

He talked Fred up after the game against Villarreal last week and was happy to do so again.

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“That gets overlooked, first choice in a good Brazil team, that shows how far Fred’s come since he came to the club and how much he’s improved,” said Carrick.

“I really like him and one of the biggest things that maybe people don’t see is the attitude. His desire to be a team player, desperate to put himself out there to play games.

“He twisted his ankle in the first half against Villarreal which would have seen a lot of players come off at half-time. To come out in the second half when it’s stiff and swollen is not easy but he got through it.

“Then he bounced into the next game and there was no way he wasn’t going to play there. That mentality is infectious. He’s improved an awful lot and brings a great energy to the team.”

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“He’s played a little bit higher up the pitch the last two games than before because we’ve tweaked the team. He’s done ever so well in that.

“The regains – especially Cristiano’s goal in Villarreal – epitomises that and he nearly got one the other night against Chelsea when he nearly scored. He brings an awful lot to the team and I like him a lot.”

To say that Fred nearly scored against Chelsea when he shot straight at Edouard Mendy when a pass was probably the better option is a bit of a stretch.

But he has been among United’s better players in the last two games and Carrick is clearly a fan of the Brazilian, even though their styles as central midfielders are contrasting.

It seems likely he will be involved from the start again against Arsenal, where energy in midfield will once again be important.

His high-octane style also seems perfect for Ralf Rangnick, who wants his sides to play higher up the pitch and on the front foot.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.