Manchester United duo Casemiro and Fred are crucial to Brazil’s hopes in Qatar, says World Cup winner Gilberto Silva.

With Selecao star Neymar ruled out of Brazil’s second group stage game against Switzerland, United’s number 17 is expected to start this evening’s clash against the Swiss.

With Brazil’s talisman not available, West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta could be deployed further forward by Selecao boss Tite with Fred coming into midfield alongside his Red Devils teammate Casemiro in a two-man pivot.

Fred came off the bench in the 2-0 win against Serbia to make his World Cup debut, as did Manchester United forward Antony.

Manchester United duo Casemiro and Fred crucial to Brazil’s World Cup hopes, says Gilberto Silva

Brazil v Serbia: Group G - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images

Fred and Casemiro have played alongside one and other 22 times for the five-time World Cup winners, and they’ve only been on the losing side once, which was against Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final.

In those 22 games that the Manchester United duo have played together Brazil have conceded just six goals.

With Brazil possessing an embarrassment of attacking riches at their disposal, the onus is going to be on Casemiro and Fred to glue the team together and protect Tite’s defence.

Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva who won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil playing alongside Kleberson, who would be signed by Sir Alex Ferguson following his performances in South Korea and Japan, believes that Casemiro and Fred’s partnership is crucial to Brazil’s hopes of success in the Middle East.

Brazil Training Session
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Speaking via BBC Sport, Gilberto Silva said: “It works very well because Casemiro sits at the back like I did and Fred is more mobile, like Kleberson was when he was next to me in our midfield at the 2002 World Cup.

“But Fred is also defensively strong. He is not just in front of Casemiro, he plays alongside him too and helps him do his job.

“They have an understanding now and I’m hoping this partnership will work well again at this World Cup. If we are going to win it, it will play such an important part.”

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