Fred poses in United's home shirt for 2018/19

Fred feels the warmth from United fans

Sunday 26 August 2018 07:00

For Fred, the opening game of the season - his competitive Manchester United debut - was everything he hoped it would be.

The dynamic Brazilian had been at Old Trafford before, turning out for Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League group-stage clash back in December 2013, when Phil Jones scored the only goal of the game. However, this was an altogether different experience for the cheerful new recruit.

Our YouTube channel's behind-the-scenes footage of the build-up to the win over the Foxes showed the players really encouraging the debutant in the tunnel beforehand, and their affection and encouragement was certainly matched by the passionate home crowd.

Fred put in an encouraging performance against Leicester on his home debut.

Everybody at the club is willing Fred to do well. He shares the same sunny disposition as his fellow countrymen Anderson and the Da Silva twins and, once he learns English, the full depth of his personality will come out. For now, the help of Andreas Pereira to break any language barriers is very beneficial.

"We’ve become really close," Fred tells our official matchday programme, United Review. "He’s someone I want to keep in touch with for the rest of my life."

That said, a simple smile can go a long way and Fred is the sort of character who will have no problem making friends. Becoming popular with the loyal United fans should pose few issues either, particularly judging by the ovation he received when being substituted during the 2-1 victory on the opening night of the season. 

"Everyone just told me to make the most of it, because playing in a stadium like Old Trafford is a big deal, especially for me, as it was my first United game there," he added.

"I was really happy with how things went. My team-mates were just chatting to me, encouraging me and telling me to make the most of what was an amazing occasion. It felt amazing when I came out onto the pitch, seeing all our fans all around the stadium, and when we came out of the tunnel everyone started cheering. That’s something I’ll never forget.

"I never want to forget how I felt that day, because making your debut at Old Trafford as well as beating a big team is just fantastic. I was really content with how it all went, and seeing the fans applauding me made me happy - it’s something I’ll never forget."

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Once settled into a new house, Fred will begin to feel more at home in Manchester and is planning on taking lessons to improve his English. There are other aspects of the life here that have come as a surprise - he admits it's "a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the driving", but people at the club are helping him get used to everything on and off the pitch.

There is a feeling Fred will add much to the team, not only out on the field but also in the changing room. Jose Mourinho admitted as much in his in-depth MUTV interview recently.

"I think people already like him," said the manager. "People can already feel his positive influence on the team and on the style of football that the team wants to play. When we brought him here, we knew he could influence the dynamic because he could attract other people to follow him in the way he thinks football and the way he likes to play football." 

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The boss went on: "We are really happy. And a part of that is his character, he’s a good guy to have around, a funny guy and a guy who always has a smile on his face. He doesn’t speak good English but he speaks with everyone and understands everyone and they understand him." 

The 3-2 defeat at Brighton may have subsequently been a setback but, speaking before that game, Fred insists he always wants to play with a positive frame of mind, like those aforementioned Brazilians before him. 

"I don’t know Rafael and Fabio," he admitted. "But Anderson is a really lively guy, a really cheerful guy. That’s what Brazilians are like – we’re always having a laugh, we’re always smiling, and my aim is to bring this spirit into the dressing room and onto the pitch, to play with a smile on my face. This helps for me settling in, and the football side of things too."

Fred is determined that United will overcome the challenge presented by Tottenham.

There is the hope that a good result against an impressive Tottenham Hotspur side on Monday evening will give everyone a reason to grin again. Fred acknowledges it will be another "challenge" and, while he had a good chat with Spurs' Lucas Moura during the winger's time at Paris Saint-Germain, obviously wishing his fellow countryman luck does not extend to the Old Trafford clash. 

The bubbly midfielder has that touch of steel, after all, as we have seen already in his two Premier League outings. Another reason why he can hope to become a firm favourite with the United faithful. 

Read the full exclusive interview with new signing Fred in Monday's edition of United Review, the official matchday programme, available online and at the stadium.