Gary Neville has theory as to why Erik ten Hag is not starting Fred anymore

Gary Neville has explained why Erik ten Hag has been reluctant to name Fred in his starting line-up recently following the welcomed return of Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen sustained a serious ankle injury in January and the Danish midfielder was absent for two months, with Fred and Marcel Sabitzer left to pick up the pieces.

Casemiro is one of the first names on the team-sheet but two long suspensions meant that Fred and Sabitzer were the two players to feature regularly in midfield.

Fred even enjoyed a stunning goalscoring run at the start of this calendar year, with his crucial equaliser vs Barcelona marking a good start to the year.

That all changed when Eriksen returned to the side, however, as Fred is yet to start a game since then. Speaking recently, United hero Neville has explained that the Brazilian’s ball retention skills are not sufficient for Ten Hag’s liking.

“I just think if we set up in such a way… I’m hoping that we go into the game with Bruno Fernandes on the right and that we stiffen up the midfield with Scott McTominay [holding] and Casemiro and Christian Eriksen or Marcel Sabitzer,” Neville told The Overlap, via the Manchester Evening News.

“And we go a bit more sort of thoughtful in the game. Doing what Arsenal did with the three in midfield that were attacking [was the wrong move]. We need to be a bit more [defensive].

“Erik ten Hag doesn’t like doing this, he likes to dominate the ball, he likes to control the ball.

“He’s left Fred out for the last few months because he wants Eriksen. I’ve got a little bit of an insight into why Fred’s not playing, Sabitzer is playing because he can hold [the ball].”

SN’s verdict…
Fred has made 28 appearances in the Premier League for United this season but only ten have been starts and with his contract winding down, it leaves Ten Hag with a big decision to make.

Fred has just one year remaining on his deal after United exercised their option to extend his contract for an additional season and as things stand, it’s looking highly unlikely that he will be offered a new deal.

Ten Hag does not seem to particularly trust Fred in games where United are expected to dominate the ball but in other games, especially against the better sides, Fred seems to be a staple in the side.

The 30-year-old’s best performance of the season came in the Manchester derby earlier this year when he thwarted Kevin de Bruyne at Old Trafford.

Addressing the midfield will be one of Ten Hag’s priorities this summer as Fred’s uncertain future coupled with Marcel Sabitzer’s expiring loan deal could potentially leave United light in that area.

More Stories Erik ten Hag Fred Gary Neville Manchester United Premier League

1 Comment

  1. Let’s face Fred just isn’t good enough. His cameo against Tottenham sums up his utd career. Terrible

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