Matic talks up McTominay and Fred ahead of Young Boys clash

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic joined his interim manager Ralf Rangnick for the press conference ahead of the Champions League meeting with Young Boys.

Matic faced a short spell of questioning at the start of the briefing, which was streamed on the club’s official app at 1.30pm on Tuesday.

The Serbian returned to the squad against Crystal Palace but was kept out of the team once again by Scott McTominay and Fred, who seem better suited to Rangnick’s high energy style of play.

Matic was asked about McTominay and Fred at the press conference and he said that the work the midfield duo do goes underrated.

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“They are first of all great people, great people for the changing room. They are important players for our team and improve a lot game by game,” said Matic of McTominay and Fred.

“They don’t get enough praise because always people who are scoring goals get praise after the game. Sooner or later they will get what they deserve.

“They give us stability so they have to continue in this way and I am sure that they will have a bright future.”

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Matic knows all about being an unsung hero who goes about the dirty work which needs doing in a team quietly and effectively.

It is what he has built his career on, but with his legs starting to fade as he reaches the autumn of his career, it would be a surprise if Matic forced either McTominay or Fred out of the team.

Donny van de Beek is an interesting alternative and it remains to be seen whether Rangnick views him more as a number six option in his 4-2-2-2 or as a number ten.

Fred was of course in the headlines for scoring the winning goal on Sunday, and before that he had drawn praise from caretaker boss Michael Carrick, not once but twice.

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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.