Manchester United have suffered a substantial selection setback ahead of their Premier League encounter with Newcastle United after midfielder Fred was ruled out of contention for Saturday’s fixture.
The 28-year-old is set to miss the next two matches for the Red Devils after the Brazilian football federation triggered FIFA rules to impose a ‘five-day ban’ on the Premier League clubs who refused to release players for international duty this month.
A report in the Manchester Evening News states: “The Brazilian FA are looking to punish sides who refused to let their players travel to red-list countries over the international break by triggering a clause in Fifa rules which prevents players being selected from the 10th to 14th of September.
“Under current Fifa legislation Brazil can demand players who had been selected for international duty are ineligible to play in matches for five days after the end of the international break as punishment for clubs not releasing them.”
As a result, Fred is set to miss United’s clash against the Magpies at Old Trafford over the weekend, as well as their opening Champions League clash against Swiss outfit Young Boys on Tuesday.
This decision is likely to leave United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feeling gutted, as the South American dynamo has become an integral part of the first team squad in recent years, starting 53 Premier League games since the start of 2019/20 and ten European fixtures last season (WhoScored).
With fellow defensive midfielder Scott McTominay also expected to be unavailable through injury, Fred’s enforced absence will come as a big blow to the 20-time English champions.
After starting all three of United’s opening league fixtures, the tough-tackling engine room operator (his two successful tackles per game this season is the joint-highest in the squad) would have been expecting to feature from the off once again against Newcastle, but Solskjaer will now be forced to field an alternative lineup in the middle of the park.