During Fred‘s up and down career at Manchester United, he remained a regular in the Brazil national team.
For those who watched Fred in action for the Selecao, they saw a very different midfielder, one given extra license to roam forward.
The key to this was Casemiro, Brazil’s elite defensive midfielder, the important cog in Real Madrid’s Champions League successes.
Now with Casemiro joining Manchester United, their international partnership is being replicated at club level.
Fred ‘loves’ playing alongside Casemiro
It took a while for Fred to re-establish his partnership at Casemiro. This was due to the excellence of Christian Eriksen, who was simply too good to leave out.
The pair have still not played together as often as they would like, with Casemiro’s recent domestic suspension playing a part. But when it comes to big games, they are Erik ten Hag’s go-to option, as seen against Barcelona and Newcastle.
Speaking after the FA Cup fifth round win over West Ham, in which both came on as second half substitutes, Fred made a point of talking up their partnership, and the squad depth.
He was quoted by The Mail: “I love to play with Casemiro. We have a good squad, in midfield and everywhere. It’s important to have a good squad, we have a lot of games.”
Fred has scored more goals this season than any other in his Manchester United career, hitting six to date. He also has four assists.
Only Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have scored more goals for United than Fred so far this season.
The pair of Casemiro and Fred are likely to line up against Liverpool this weekend. It will be another chance for Fred to really underline his role as first choice, amid a looming Marcel Sabitzer, and the eventual return of Eriksen.
United are also expected to add another midfielder in the summer, but right now, this is a partnership which is the best available, and one which was proven to work, even before Casemiro signed for the club.
Fred hails Erik ten Hag
Fred is also growing increasingly fond of the man who brought Casemiro to Manchester United last summer, manager Erik ten Hag.
The former Shakhtar midfielder said that Ten Hag has transformed the atmosphere and attitude within the squad.
He said: “Erik ten Hag has brought energy to our dressing-room, so it’s a good season and we need to keep it going.
“Like against West Ham, we were 1-0 down, but every moment we believe. We have the mentality, and it’s important to keep this to win the trophies.”