Michael Carrick and Fred at Old Trafford.

Opinion: Encouragement for industrious Fred

Tuesday 22 October 2019 11:00

On Monday night, Patrice Evra appeared on Sky Sports’ coverage of Sheffield United against Arsenal and spoke during the broadcast about how hard it was to settle at Manchester United.

The Frenchman arrived from AS Monaco in January 2006 and famously struggled on his debut, against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, when he performed poorly during the first half and was memorably substituted at half-time by Sir Alex Ferguson. He was told to study English football, quickly.

“When I came to Manchester, in my first six months, even Scholesy says he was thinking, 'he's a joker and the club should sell him back to AS Monaco,'” said Evra.

“But those things, they helped me and made me stronger. When people were laughing at me and [Nemanja] Vidic when were substituted in a reserve game, some people were saying ‘they are so poor’. But after that we proved them wrong.”

Evra’s Old Trafford career is evidence that patience is often needed with new signings from foreign leagues and current first-teamer Fred should be encouraged by the now-retired left-back’s story.

Opta data shows Fred covered 11.92 kilometres against Liverpool and that total was the second highest on the pitch, beaten only by the hardworking Scott McTominay on 11.93 kilometres.

The Brazilian midfielder joined the club from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018 and, like Evra, he has admitted to struggling during his debut season as a Red. He scored one goal from 25 appearances – which included a couple of standout displays against Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal, in fairness.

Those of us who’ve spent time around Fred can report he’s settled in Manchester, always smiling and polite to everyone around him.

He is also determined to become a success at United. 

On Sunday night, Fred made his second start of the Premier League season and I thought he deserved credit for a positive performance in the unforgiving environment that engulfs our battles with Liverpool.

Playing alongside Scott McTominay in central midfield, the 26-year-old displayed a relentless work ethic against opposition trio Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum, and never shied away from the ball, despite this being a time in his career when confidence might not be at an all-time high.

Opta data shows Fred covered 11.92 kilometres in the match and that total was the second highest on the pitch, beaten marginally by his hardworking team-mate Scott McTominay, who finished on 11.93km. 

He also had two shots in a nip-and-tuck match, and finished with the highest pass-completion rate of any player between both sides -  91.3 per cent.
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90 in 20: United 1 Liverpool 1

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Daniel James was later named the Man of the Match by United fans in our Official App and deservedly so, following another livewire performance up front that yielded an excellent assist. 

Fred was not nominated for the award by our analyst Danny Webber, who opted for Marcus Rashford and McTominay as his other contenders.

Yet, for me, it was a positive night for the man from Belo-Horizonte and one that he will hope to build on in the coming weeks. 

The opinions expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.