Just a month ago Fred looked like he could provide a breath of fresh air to Manchester United’s midfield.
He came off the bench against Leicester City and gave the team a boost, helping the Red Devils close out a 1-0 win. He followed this up with a bright performance in the win over Astana.
Since then, he has not kicked on, and nor have United. And his performances in the last two games against AZ Alkmaar and Newcastle have been poor. Really poor.
So what’s going wrong for the £47 million man?
Inability to do the basics
Fred’s performance in the last two games have shown a few worrying signs, where he fails to even get the basics right.
This includes passing the ball out of play, mis-controlling passes and poor positioning.
Fred’s problem is that his role is undefined. He is not a box to box player, he is not an attacking midfielder, nor is he a defensive midfielder who can shut down the opposition.
Alongside Scott McTominay the pair do not offer United enough, not without Paul Pogba on the pitch too.
Not brave enough
Fred is guilty of playing it too safe. He completed 91 passes against Newcastle, but the majority of these are short, often backwards passes.
He is too content playing the ball back to the defence, or sideways, rather than probing forward and trying to positively influence the game.
He does not run with the ball and take players on, or take a risk and get forward into the opposition box to create an outlet. United need more.
It could be that Fred feels the pressure of his price tag, but United cannot afford a player to be timid.
Right now the Red Devils need winners, and leaders, and Fred is not stepping up as needed.
This may change when Paul Pogba returns, but United did not sign Fred to be dependent on the Frenchman.
His lack of bravery and inability to get some of the basics right show a player low in confidence.
It’s not irredeemable for him, but there are some serious flaws there to his game, which suggest he is not the player United need.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be leaning on Fred due to a lack of other options, but there are alternatives, like James Garner.
Fred needs to show more fight, more attacking intent, and show that he can inspire his teammates. Right now it is not happening.
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