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Manchester United’s Fred More Than Happy To Be The “Piano Carrier” For The Forwards

Aadam Haladh

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Manchester United’s Fred More Than Happy To Be The “Piano Carrier” For The Forwards

Fred has been a player heavily scrutinised since his Manchester United debut back in 2018. 

The Brazilian divides fan opinion like no other, but one thing many United fans can agree on is that the midfielder was a shining light in what was United’s worst ever campaign since the formation of the Premier League. 

Fred has often been deployed in central midfield alongside Scott McTominay, largely down to the fact the club’s recruitment has been so poor in deeper central midfield areas.

The 29-year-old has previously spoken about being the ‘piano carrier’.

Speaking in an interview with Fred Caldeira of TNT Sports earlier in the year, the former Shakhtar man said: “I know I’m not the best player, the most technical, but I give my blood and my life every time I’m on the pitch. As we say in Brazil, I carry the piano for the artists to play.”

Fred celebrates scoring against Liverpool. (Alamy)
Fred celebrates scoring against Liverpool. (Alamy)

In 2021/22, Fred was played much higher up in what could be considered as an ‘advanced no.8’ role. 

Speaking during United’s preseason tour in Australia, Fred said: “Last season, I played a bit further forward under Ralf [Rangnick], he gave me a bit more freedom to get in the box to score and assist.”

Fred enjoyed one of his more fruitful spells in a red shirt, chipping in with four goals, including two against arch-rivals Leeds United and interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s first game in charge vs Crystal Palace, as well as contributing six assists.

He continued: “We’ll see what Erik asks of me now, he may want me more in the build-up of play.”

In pre-season, Fred has been utilised as a lone defensive midfielder as well as in his typical midfield pivot, however, it’s still up in the air which system new manager Erik ten Hag will opt to use for the coming season.

“As I just said, regardless of scoring, I want to help my teammates. I want to carry the piano on the pitch for them to score and help the team. The most important thing is that we achieve our goals to take us as far as possible.”

With United’s front four of Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all looking sharp on tour, Fred’s job of ‘carrying the piano’ maybe made much easier, with Ten Hag instilling his pressing ideas, involving a much higher work rate from all members of the squad.

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On these pressing ideas, Ten Hag said: “We want to press. We want to press all day and play proactive football. 

“Sometimes we can do that high but if not possible, we have to read it as a team and drop lower. But we want to press and that to be the intention all day.”

On the new manager’s arrival, Fred said: “I believe the team spirit is getting stronger. We’re working hard this pre-season so we can be flying when the league starts, that’s the priority. We're building something great here, I hope it all works out over the season.”

Squad depth is still an issue for United, which allowed for plenty of opportunities for younger, fringe players in fixtures against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in preseason.

Ethan Laird, Anthony Elanga, Hannibal Mejbri and Charlie Savage were just a few players given opportunities in preseason.

“Of course, there’s a lot of quality with the young players, they’ve been impressing the manager as well. They’ve been great in training and in matches during the pre-season. I hope they can help us, the older players look to help them settle into the team as well. Hopefully they can do great things with us in the future”, said Fred.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Fred, Erik Ten Hag, Football, Brazil

Aadam Haladh
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