Fred defends Antony after harsh criticism over showboating

Fred has jumped to the defence of his Brazil and Manchester United team-mate Antony after the winger came under fire for showboating against FC Sheriff in the Europa League.

Antony performed his trademark drag-back spin – twice – while the scoreline was 0-0 at Old Trafford and it left several pundits feeling outraged. Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Robbie Savage were having none of it.

“I don’t know what he’s doing,” Scholes told BT Sport. “It’s just ridiculous. It’s showboating.

“Look at [Erik ten Hag’s reaction], that sums it up. What is he thinking? He’s not beating a man, he’s not entertaining anybody, it’s 0-0 and then he kicks the ball out.”

Savage went in even harder on Antony by suggesting Ten Hag should have ‘dragged’ him off the pitch.

While they all seem outraged by Antony’s trickery, it really is their reactions that I found outrageous on the night. Ten Hag even defended the player after the match and said his substitution was planned before the match – if United were leading at half-time.

Meanwhile, Fred has hit back at the criticism Antony received from pundits, speaking to ESPN after the match (via The Metro): “It’s very annoying that they want to say that.

“I think it starts with us being Brazilians. Brazilians have quality in their blood. It’s always been that way since Pele, to have quality, to dribble, to score, to dance, to smile.

“So I think people have to understand this aspect that we have. So it wasn’t offensive to anyone what he did.

“Of course, if it’s offensive, we’ll come to him in the dressing room and talk. But it was not offensive to anyone. It’s his game. I think he has to keep doing it.”

Like Fred, I would encourage more showboating from Antony. I don’t see the point in knocking someone that is playing with confidence, especially when we’ve had so many good players struggle to believe in themselves.

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