Manchester United midfielder Fred is often the subject of heavy criticism online but for his national side, he remains a key player despite Brazil’s embarrassment of riches in defensive midfield.
Fred kept Liverpool’s Fabinho on the bench for the entirety of this summer’s Copa America as he regularly figured alongside Real Madrid star Casemiro.
For Manchester United, he almost always plays in a defensive midfield pairing with Scott McTominay but Fred has offered a glimpse of what could be on the horizon at Old Trafford after a glowing performance from Brazil.
The 28-year-old started against Uruguay yesterday and played in a more attacking role, as opposed to the deep role we’re used to seeing him in at United. The tactical tweak offered him the chance to get involved in the final third, which eventually resulted in him registering a beautiful assist for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.
Fred made a surprising admission about the change in position after the game, insisting he prefers to play in a role further up the pitch.
“When it comes to defending, don’t lose the ball, and press, defending well. It was a great game for everyone. I’m very happy.
“We talk a lot about this role of second defensive midfielder. In Europe, you say it’s a box-to-box. You participate in the ball getting out and are able to participate more in the attack. If you lose the ball at the front, you’re already there to challenge for the ball. I really like to play like this. I prefer it, my ideal position is to get more involved in the attack.”
Fred has only played one role for United and that has been as a conservative defensive midfielder but his performance against Uruguay could force Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into trying him in a more attacking role.