Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be having sleepless nights over his team selection for Manchester United’s first game back.
Paul Pogba’s return gives United an exciting option, one which he may not have to use right away.
If United go with a midfield three, Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Bruno Fernandes provide a strong balance of attack, defence, and sheer quality.
This would mean no place for £47 million man Fred, who this season has begun to live up to his price tag.
United great Peter Schmeichel told CNN this week: “Fred has been, for me, absolutely instrumental in how well the club has done this season.
“He was always perfect for the club but he’s now been given playing time and the more time he’s been given, the more confidence he’s gained and for me, he’s been one of the great stories this season at Manchester United.”
It would be harsh for Fred to drop to the bench against Tottenham, although it is a very real possibility. So here is the case for Fred to get the nod on Friday June 19…
Proven we can win with him
Fred has stepped up this season in a way United fans would not have imagined after an underwhelming debut campaign.
He has been a key part of the midfield which has secured a win over Tottenham already this season, he starred in two victories against Chelsea, and three against Manchester City.
He is no longer an unknown quantity. We know what we are going to get, and in big matches this season, it has often been a winning formula.
While tempting to put Paul Pogba in from the start against Spurs, Fred’s record and performances this season stands tall. Solskjaer will be tempted to stick with what has worked.
A show of loyalty
Fred will respect Pogba and what he has achieved in the game, and he probably won’t mind playing second fiddle to the Frenchman if selected ahead of him.
United though could do wonders for Fred’s confidence by picking him ahead of Pogba, and showing him he is still the man and that this is his midfield spot.
Fred has stepped up magnificently over the last few months, and he should not feel like he was simply keeping Pogba’s spot warm.
With a show of loyalty, United could inspire Fred, and keep his confidence high.
He was hitting form before the break, with three assists and two goals in his last five games. United should try to get him back immediately performing at this level.
Element of surprise
Opposition boss Jose Mourinho will be all smiles, but we know there was no love lost between himself and Paul Pogba during the final year of their time at Manchester United.
Pogba’s return will be playing on Mourinho’s mind, and he will be working up various tactical gameplans focused on trying to stop the Frenchman.
So United could use the element of surprise and catch Mourinho cold by leaving Pogba on the bench, and picking Fred to start, who as we have outlined, has shown himself to be a quality alternative.
Pogba can still come off the bench and aim to swing the game in United’s favour.
We may get more out of him as a substitute in his return to action in any case, than throwing him straight in, with more important games also upcoming over the following fortnight.
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