Over the last few seasons, one of the biggest problem areas for Manchester United was their central midfield position with many pundits highlighting the lack of creativity in the centre of the park.
What the duo lacked in creativity, they more than made up for it with their immense work-rate. But Erik ten Hag quickly realised that the pairing would not work if they had to climb to the next level.
Fred’s difficult season at club level
The Dutchman proceeded to bring in high-quality replacements in the form of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro and since then, Fred, especially, has found it difficult to start games.
As pointed out by Ten Hag earlier in the season, Fred’s high-energy and relentless pressing ability can come in quite handy against certain opposition.
However, due to his reduced minutes, the Brazil international has been linked with a summer 2023 exit with the former Ajax boss said to prefer a more creative option in the centre of the park.
🚨The last time Fred wore the 10 for Brazil was in March of 2018.
Tite and Neymar thought this would be a good idea to boost Fred’s confidence.
— Brasil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) November 27, 2022
Despite a difficult club season, Fred remains a hugely popular figure in the national team’s dressing room and his immense work-rate has everyone impressed.
As revealed by Globo Esporte, Brazil’s physiologist Guilherme Passos was in awe of the stats that the 29-year-old regularly racks up during his appearances.
“He has an absurd work rate, very high,” said Passos. “We had a match in the Copa América where he covered 12km.
“He’s always our top 1, top 2 in volume, in distance covered. In work rate, which means that he is all the time running through the field at high speed and moderate speed.”
Brazil support staff impressed with Fred
And these impressive statistics also have a down side with the midfielder regularly losing up to 1-3kg in a single game. And that leads to a very specialised recovery programme for the former Shakhtar Donetsk star.
“We pay a lot of attention to Fred regarding his recovery. Because he loses a lot of weight during the game precisely because of this great work rate.
“He is one of the main athletes that we have to rehydrate a lot after the game, increase the carbohydrate intake a lot to be able to recover well for the next match.”
Passos also praised the combative midfielder’s will to give his all and recover following all protocols so that he can be there to help the team when needed next.
“He manages to recover quickly precisely because he is an athlete who pays attention to this information (care) and follows the recovery protocols.”
Fred is considered to be the “little engine” of the team due to his weight of 67kgs but is valued highly and there are suggestions that he might not be risked in the Cameroon game to avoid a suspension in the knock-out stage.