Home » Scott McTominay vs. Fred: statistics suggest which star is more valuable to Man United

Scott McTominay vs. Fred: statistics suggest which star is more valuable to Man United

by Derick Kinoti

As Erik ten Hag plots to get rid of a number of his current players in an effort to boost his transfer kitty and make space for new arrivals, it has been suggested that one of either Scott McTominay or Fred could be let go.

If suitable offers arrive, then exits for both midfielders could be facilitated but this is highly unlikely. Earlier today, Manchester United confirmed the permanent signing of Mason Mount. The Chelsea academy graduate’s arrival at Old Trafford will only serve to push McTominay and Fred further down the pecking order.

Reports have indicated that there is a bigger chance that Fred gets sold ahead of McTominay. The Brazilian is approaching the final year of his contract with the Red Devils and he will not be offered improved terms to extend his stay.

McTominay, who came through the ranks at United, was the club’s youngest midfielder in the senior squad at 26, prior to Mount’s acquisition.

Both stars, who formed the infamous “McFred” pivot that regularly drew the wrath of supporters during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure for their ineffective and uninspired displays, are not short of admirers.

The Peoples Person covered a report which stated that Fred is attracting interest from Fulham and big spenders Saudi Arabia.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is a known fan of McTominay and would welcome the Scotland international with both arms at St James’ Park if the opportunity presented itself.

A detailed analysis of the two players’ passing stats however reveals that United and certainly Ten Hag would do better by parting ways with McTominay before axing Fred.

Comparative passing analysis: McTominay vs Fred

In terms of passing, the numbers heavily favour retaining Fred compared to McTominay. Ten Hag’s football philosophy and unique style of play demand that his operators in the middle of the park excel in their delivery of the ball.

The Dutchman’s possession-based football places a heavy burden on midfielders to retain the ball and control the tempo of the game.

In this respect, Fred is more suited to the role.

Last season, McTominay only managed to complete an average of 29.86 passes out of the 36.26 per 90 that he attempted – a shocking return to say the least. This firmly ranked him in the 17th percentile of other Premier League midfielders.

The Lancaster-born player registered a pass completion rate of 81.8%, a percentage which put him in the 46th percentile of midfielders in England’s top flight.

On the other hand, Fred completed an average of 42.97 passes out of the 53.51 per game that he tried last term. The 30-year-old had a slightly lower pass accuracy compared to McTominay – 80.3%. This can be excused by the fact that he aggregated a significantly higher volume of passes.

McTominay averaged only 16.43 short passes and 1.94 long passes last season. This put him in the 36th and 14th percentile respectively.

The Scotsman failed to get even a single assist to his name and amassed 0.55 key passes per game.

Fred averaged a healthy 24.22 short passes and almost twice as many long balls per 90 as McTominay. In these metrics, he slotted in at the 80th and 43rd percentile respectively. Fred also managed 1.93 key passes per game in the last campaign.

McTominay averaged 2.91 passes into the final third of the pitch. This is dwarfed by Fred’s 4.76. The same trend is seen with regard to progressive passes – an especially key aspect that encompasses the brand of football Ten Hag wants to implement at the Theatre of Dreams. McTominay managed 2.77 progressive passes to Fred’s far superior 5.22 per 90.

Fred delivered 0.41 through balls per appearance which put him in the 92nd percentile among Premier League central men. McTominay only averaged 0.21 in the same category.

statistics from FBRef.com.


McTominay’s statistics make for grim reading and if a merit-based decision regarding who leaves between the two is to be made in the coming weeks, the numbers would dictate that Fred should not be the first out the door.

The United number 39’s passing and handling of the ball falls below the standard of an average midfielder in the league. Simply put, this is not good enough for a team harbouring ambitions of battling it out against Europe’s elite clubs for top honours.

Admittedly, upgrades on both players are required, but during a summer in which Ten Hag will be forced to prioritize courtesy of an extremely limited budget, there is a stronger case to retain Fred.

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