The 2021/22 campaign was a disastrous one for Manchester United as Ralf Rangnick’s side grew worse with each passing week as the season came to an end.
In truth, there were no silver linings to United’s worst-ever Premier League season but Fred emerged as the surprise package, especially after Rangnick’s arrival in December.
The 29-year-old is a regular for Brazil and has cemented his place in the United line-up, with former Reds star Wes Brown backing him to become ‘even better’ under new manager Erik ten Hag.
Ten Hag, who signed a three-year contract earlier this year, is adamant he will improve the side’s midfield, with Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen among the targets.
But Fred is likely to play a key role under the Dutchman as he’ll be made to mix the old with the new in a bid to revolutionise the club.
“I hope he can become even better under Erik ten Hag,” Brown is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website. “First of all, Fred always gives 100 per cent and, when I watch him, I love that. You need that in your team and you need players to be doing that.
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“I think he got better and better as the season went on, he came into his game a little bit more. I still think we need players in that position, but Fred, for me, is a great player to have in the squad: he gives you that energy, he gets about, he does the nasty work and you need players who do that.
“Not everybody can play the same, it’s as simple as that. Fred starts the play off very well, he gets the ball back and people can then react from his movements. He has been here for four years now, he has improved a lot in that time and last season was probably his best.”
Fred is certainly a player that fits into the profile Ten Hag would like from his players, with his tenacity and energy in midfield standing out in comparison to the other players available.
As things stand, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek are the only other senior midfielders at the club and Fred’s stocks are higher than both of them.
With just one year remaining on his contract, he will also be eager to leave a lasting impression on Ten Hag in order to secure his long-term future.