Fred returns to Carrington after international duty with Brazil

Many of Manchester United’s players had some time off during the gap since the last Premier League match – but not Fred.

He has been in international action with Brazil, playing the full 90 minutes of their 1-1 draw with Ecuador last week before he was an unused substitute when they beat Paraguay 4-0.

His international involvement may have put his availability for tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Middlesbrough in doubt.

The game being shifted to Friday night didn’t help, and the only Premier League matchday squad he has been left out of this season was after international duty against Leicester in October.

Photo by DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images

But he has uploaded a photo to Instagram saying that he is is back at the training ground on Thursday, which should mean he is available to face Chris Wilder’s men.

His lack of involvement against Paraguay is a boost on that score as well, and there is every chance he can face Boro.

Ralf Rangnick may be tempted to rotate his squad but it is important he puts out a side capable of winning the game.

Also, some fringe men such as Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek have now been loaned out, leaving the German with less players he may feel need sharpness and gametime.

Wilder’s side are energetic and physical and it is those kinds of games that Fred and Scott McTominay tend to be needed for.

Rangnick has had Fred playing slightly further up in a 4-3-3 system which allows him to go and press the ball of late.

Paul Pogba could be back against Boro and while it might be a surprise to see him thrown in from the start, given Rangnick’s careful approach to injury rehabilitation, that does offer him another option and more competition for Fred.

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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.