Fred has been playing like a man on a mission over the past few weeks and he has helped Manchester United win five of the last six games.

The Brazilian is beginning to show glimpses of why the club spent £47 million to sign him and he is winning over his doubters.

Even Alan Shearer made special mention to credit his performance on MOTD2 on Sunday, and for him to praise a Manchester United player, it means Fred is doing something right.

Fred was outstanding for United against Brighton in the 3-1 win, driving the team forward by winning possession and distributing it smartly.

He is still looking for his first goal of the season, but he is making good progress after a slow start to the campaign.

Fred has been talking about how he has hit form, and he believes it is remarkably simple.

He told The Athletic: “I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt since moving to England. All I ever wanted was to play regularly and now that I’m doing that, there’s no doubt my confidence is higher and that helps any player.”

(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Run of games

Fred came into the season as the club’s fourth or fifth option in midfield. He barely featured in pre-season after missing parts of the club tour and did not make his first Premier League appearance until September.

An injury to Paul Pogba has seen United become reliant on Fred in a way the team never was in his first season at the club.

Fred has started eight consecutive matches and nine of the last 10.

In these eight games he has completed all 90 minutes in seven of them, a testament to his fitness levels.

Already this season he has played 508 Premier League minutes, nearly half the 1,044 he played in the top flight last season.

The highest number of consecutive games Jose Mourinho selected him for was three in a row. And after he scored his one and only goal for United against Wolves, he was dropped to the bench for the next game and didn’t feature for another month.

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked him for four games in a row at the end of he season, but that was as busy as his workload got.

This season by a combination of circumstance and form, Fred is getting a proper run.

Only now is it fair to really judge him, and he is showing some reasons to be positive, having doubled his run for consecutive appearances, he is hitting form.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Can it continue?

The international break could go both ways. Fred will appreciate the rest, but the way he has been playing in recent weeks, it would have been preferable not to have had to hit pause.

The next match away to a competitive Sheffield United side will be a big test, and it will be even tougher with Scott McTominay likely to miss the fixture due to injury.

Fred’s partnership with McTominay has been pivotal to United’s return to form and now he must try again with a new partner.

Paul Pogba remains out, leaving Fred with one of youngster James Garner, Andreas Pereira if he drops back, or a returning Nemanja Matic.

United can’t afford for Fred to take a backwards step. And we have to be realistic and accept that he might.

He’s improving, but ultimately he hasn’t proved himself enough yet. A good performance at home to Brighton won’t win over his critics.

We have some tough fixtures coming up against Sheffield United, Tottenham and Aston Villa and with key midfielders out, a lot is being asked of the Brazilian.

But if this season has shown us anything about him, it’s that he relishes the responsibility. Fred is currently undroppable.

He says this run of games is ‘all he ever wanted’ and he’s playing like it. After the torrent of over the top criticism he has received, it’s great to see.

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