When Manchester United signed Fred in June, everyone thought he would be the guy to finally release Paul Pogba. Technically, they wouldn’t be wrong. Fred coming in has pushed Pogba a little forward, but was that all Fred’s job? Absolutely not. You don’t pay £52 million for a midfielder just to release the shackles of someone. Fred is an astute signing, regardless of the money. His role is much more than that.
Fred Will Help Jose Mourinho Get the Best Out of Manchester United
Michael Carrick was an important part of the squad in Jose Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford. Carrick brought in balance and dynamism at the base of midfield which Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera couldn’t. Carrick’s ability to control the tempo of the game and build play from deep was unparalleled. But the Englishman couldn’t carry on, so, Nemanja Matic was brought it. Matic was an excellent signing. The Serb is a ball winner in midfield but his passing range is limited. Paul Pogba had to drop deep, control the tempo and also do the Paul Pogba things in the final third all at the same time. Ander Herrera was an able third midfielder, but he is also better in a defensive role than an offensive one.
Fred is the perfect blend of attack and defence. He can run, tackle, pass, shoot, dribble, intercept and control the tempo. He completed the most dribbles out of any defensive midfielder in the UEFA Champions League last season. His stats for tackles won were up there too. He has the vision and ability to thread inch-perfect through balls in between/behind the tightest of defences. The Brazilian will drop deep to collect possession and build play. Manchester United now can easily play out from the back. From De Gea to Lindelof to Matic/Pereira to Fred to Pogba/Alexis.
Fred was the missing link. He already has an effect on the speed of the build-up play, as seen against Leicester. His first instinct is to look for a forward option. His directness will really help Manchester United get ride of the Van-Gaalism (the passes going sideways or back). Also, Fred helps take the defensive burden off Matic and especially Andreas Pereira. The 25-year old isn’t afraid of putting in the tackles, doing the dirty work. Against Leicester, he won 100% of tackles and also made three interceptions and three blocks.
Coming back to if it helps Pogba or not, it definitely does. Pogba himself has developed through the summer, playing a mature role leading France to World Cup glory. He now has added reinforcements in the middle of the park to play with. Fred will also massively effect Alexis Sanchez’s game. The Chilean need not drop deep anymore. Fred, Pogba and Matic/Periera have enough creativity in them to find Alexis and Lukaku up top. The crucial thing for them is to make themselves available via runs.
Fred’s touch is class; he brings the Brazilian trickery that Mourinho desires, is a player on the rise and most importantly, has the confidence and aura to play for Manchester United. He just needs to adapt to the English game quickly, because there is a real player under that No.17 shirt.