South American football expert shares Brazilian media's verdict on Fred
Fred’s place in the Manchester United side is under constant scrutiny but he has now established himself as a regular for Brazil.
The midfielder was the highest-rated player on the pitch in Brazil’s last match, the 0-0 draw in Argentina.
Brazil have qualified for World Cup 2022 and Fred will hope to remain as central to their plans by the time the tournament kicks off.
But what do the Brazilian media make of Fred, and how has he become a first-choice pick in their midfield?
South American football expert Tim Vickery, who has appeared on BBC Sport and Sky Sports in the past, has spoken to United’s official website about Fred to shed some light.
He said: “When United took that defeat against Liverpool, there were questions in Brazil about picking a midfielder who had been in a side that had just suffered that kind of defeat. So he’s not a glamorous player.
“He made his name with Internacional, not in Rio or Sao Paolo, the big media centres, and that means that he doesn’t have a big media constituency. He’s a little worker ant who has to fight for everything he gets.
“Against Argentina, they played an old school 4-2-4. There’s a real danger in that team the two in midfield will get overloaded. What Fred brings to that side is mobility. He’s got to get around the field, plug the gaps, be the unsung hero.”
“He’s played very, very well. While they have the wingers opening up the pitch, they really need someone who can cover ground. They’ve tried a couple of bigger names in there, but they don’t play the ball as quickly as Fred.
“Fred is moving the ball quickly. It’s totally unglamorous, never noticed, but it keeps things ticking over. At the moment, the spot in Brazil’s starting line-up is his to lose.”
When Brazil won 4-1 against Uruguay last month, he set up the first goal with a lovely dinked pass over the top for Neymar.
Against Argentina, he hit the bar with his right foot from outside the box, coming as close as anyone to scoring.
Can Fred bring his international displays to United?
Some of the things Vickery mentions, especially playing the ball quickly, are what United fans need to see more of from Fred in a red shirt.
The creativity mentioned in terms of assists and shots on goal is also lacking from his club football – but why?
It could be confidence, that Fred is happier playing in a Brazil team which is winning more often than not.
It could be the setup of the team. Fred played alongside Liverpool’s Fabinho against Argentina and he is an elite anchorman.
United played almost a 4-2-4 against Liverpool and the gaps were too big for Fred and Scott McTominay to plug, but it seems at international level, the structure is there which allows him to do it.
Whatever the reasons, it would be great to see Fred bring some of his international form to the club arena.
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