This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed Fred’s recent revival.
The Brazil international endured a difficult first season at the club following his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018, featuring just 25 times. But the 26-year-old has enjoyed a revival in recent weeks, becoming a prominent member of Solskjaer’s first-team.
He has already played 17 games across all competitions, but has started and completed the full 90 minutes in United’s last nine Premier League matches. And having seen him become a key part of the squad, Solskjaer was quick to praise the midfielder for simply getting his head down and working hard.
He said (as quoted by the club’s official website): “Fred has had the confidence of the coaching staff and the players all the time. This form is down to him, because he’s been working really hard and, when he got the chance now that Paul (Pogba) is injured, I think he’s really grabbed it with both feet. We’re all happy to see him perform at this level and I’m sure he can kick on and improve.”
Having fended off competition from Manchester City for his signature, United no doubt envisaged they had pulled off a major coup by signing Fred last year. But following a difficult adaptation period, there may have been doubts whether was actually cut out for the pace and intensity of English football. But his performances this season, particularly in recent weeks, is showing signs of why the club spent £47m to sign him.
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As per Whoscored, he has averaged an impressive two tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game in the Premier league, and he has enjoyed a fine partnership in central midfield alongside Scott McTominay, with Solskjaer publicly hailing their “good relationship“. So whilst it didn’t look like the smartest signing at first, Fred is really beginning to prove his worth now and is nailing down a role in one of the most competitive positions in the side.