Manchester United have faced issues in midfield this season, as they also did during the last campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to find the right balance, but for the majority of matches, Fred has been chosen as a defensive midfielder. Despite some fans of the Premier League club questioning the Brazilian’s ability, he’s much more valued by his national manager Tite, and that’s been underlined during the current international break.
Fred played the full match against Colombia, as Brazil drew 0-0, and then 88 minutes against Uruguay, in a 4-1 victory for his country. The midfielder even set Neymar up with an assist, and was thrilled with his contribution.
After the match, he spoke to the local media, and UOL quote the Manchester United player as saying: “Very happy for the victory, a great game. It was one of the best matches I played for the national team, participating a little more in the attack.
“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.”
That’s when, perhaps unexpectedly for those who follow the player on a club basis, Fred explained he prefers to play in a more attacking role: “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.”
Given what is ahead of him at Manchester United, Fred will have to continue to hold his attacking instincts back, at least for the majority of matches he plays for the English club.
With Solskjaer’s side facing Leicester City on Saturday, it’s unlikely Fred will be able to take part given Brazil’s match finished in the early hours of Friday morning.