New signing Fred has demonstrated his commitment to acclimatising to life in Manchester as soon as possible by deciding to hire an English tutor rather than a translator.
The Brazilian arrived at Old Trafford from Shakhtar Donetsk last month for a fee of £52.7m to become the club’s second signing of the summer.
He will be expected to bring greater efficiency and forward momentum to Manchester United’s midfield and part of that – obviously – is communication.
And his representative Gilberto Silva has noted that Fred, who speaks Portuguese and some Spanish, will begin to learn English once he returns from the World Cup in Russia.
“When we went to Manchester to complete the move, he asked the club to have a teacher, not a translator,” he said.
“This is a good sign, not to have a translator on a daily basis, which is the easy option. He’s eager to learn the language, the culture, the way the club is – everything. I don’t see any problem with him adapting to playing in England and being a success at United.”
You would think that an at least rudimentary understanding of English is necessary for any Manchester United player – if only to pick up tactical instructions. But it very much depends on who you are.
Some, like Anderson or Antonio Valencia, have opted to avoid learning English and nonetheless prospered. Some, like Angel di Maria and Kleberson, never learned the language and found themselves on the periphery of things in Manchester, frozen out, their feeling of isolation compounded by the language barrier.
In other words, learning English is a secondary matter, especially at a club with all kinds of nationalities and a Portuguese manager. What really matters, above anything, is whether Fred chooses to embrace life in England – its culture, its people, its cynicism and its awful weather – or retreats into a shell.