Fred - £47m well spent

Dan_F

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This is spot on. Plus those 2/3 sloppy passes trigger confirmation bias in all those who don’t/won’t rate him and see this as evidence of another poor performance full of wayward passing.

When in reality stats show that each pass he makes is more likely to reach its target than passes from the likes of Partey, Kante or Fernandinho. Every time this is pointed out his critics claim he only passes sideways/backwards. Which is as factually inaccurate as the same claims once made by critics of Michael Carrick.

Rinse and repeat. Every Fred thread on the caf in a nutshell.
I can see this being true for a lot of people. The one that stuck out in my mind was the first half one that split Pogba and Shaw (I think) and went out of touch. At least there was no danger involved in it.

Then in the second half, after his goal, there were two really progressive bits of play where he won the ball and instead of playing to the open man to the left, he played straight through their midfield on the turn and started a counter. There has to be a confidence thing with him, Andy Mitten has mentioned it a few times, that he goes into his shell when he makes an error.

Carrick definitely did that far more in the latter stages of his career, which is when he started to get a lot more praise from United fans, and it’s something that was really obvious when watching Kroos play against Liverpool last week. It’s the reason why we are so slow and pass it side to side so often. Obviously Kroos/Modric is the absolute best example, so it’s unfair on Fred to expect that, but that’s what we need close to in order to challenge.
 

Litch

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I've said it before. He's the Nicky Butt of the Ferguson era. A good squad player who shouldn't be a nailed-on starter if we have title ambitions.
We certainly overpaid for him but since we can't reverse that decision, we live with it and try to make the best of it.
You know Nicky Butt spent 12 years at Utd, 6 prem titles, 3 FA cups and CL. He didn't do that just collecting the bibs and putting out the cones, he played in big games and some of our biggest achievements as a club were due to not nailed on players. I know what you mean, but football has always been a squad game.
 

Pogue Mahone

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I can see this being true for a lot of people. The one that stuck out in my mind was the first half one that split Pogba and Shaw (I think) and went out of touch. At least there was no danger involved in it.

Then in the second half, after his goal, there were two really progressive bits of play where he won the ball and instead of playing to the open man to the left, he played straight through their midfield on the turn and started a counter. There has to be a confidence thing with him, Andy Mitten has mentioned it a few times, that he goes into his shell when he makes an error.

Carrick definitely did that far more in the latter stages of his career, which is when he started to get a lot more praise from United fans, and it’s something that was really obvious when watching Kroos play against Liverpool last week. It’s the reason why we are so slow and pass it side to side so often. Obviously Kroos/Modric is the absolute best example, so it’s unfair on Fred to expect that, but that’s what we need close to in order to challenge.
Definitely. It was a huge issue in his earlier games for us. He’d waft a pass into touch under no pressure, apologise to all his team mates, then completely fall apart and get worse and worse as the game goes one.

More recently he seems to be a lot less fragile mentally. Still has that handful of sloppy passes in his locker but much less likely to let them kill his confidence and will keep trying progressive passes.
 

NinjaZombie

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Fred was awful today right up his goal. The number of wayward passes is unbelievable for a professional footballer. He has a knack of challenging for the ball and then immediately giving it back to the opposition, almost in a better position than if he hadn’t challenged at all. The amount of fouls he gives away is also a major issue.

Ok, he popped up in the right place today and scored a tap in. It doesn’t absolve him of all his errors and inadequacies in the position.

If Utd replaced Fred with a decent DM and Lindelof we’d have the makings of a team that could mount a credible challenge for the league.
So true. :lol:
 

stevoc

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I think when a footballer polarises opinions, the actual true is somewhere in the middle. It's funny cause that's pretty much where most of the Utd team are, including the manager. Read the other threads about 90% of the Utd team and you'll see the same polarity. Read 'not good enough for Utd team' so where does that leave the manager who consistently plays him? Is his ability to assess of Fred qualities and different than his ability to assess Bruno's? Why would a Utd manager pick a player that cost us games? How can a player who can't pass generally end up with the highest pass amounts and % than any on the pitch?

What I can't work out is for a player that is so limited and just about running around, he's had more MOTM nominations than any other player since his arrival, in big games, in both prem and Europe?

Must just be me and the manager of Man Utd that are calling it wrong......
Where would you find this?

Genuine question.
 

matsdf

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So when he plays against the best team in Europe, he seems to be our most important player but conversely, he should not play as much? His best games are against the best teams in prem and Europe but he's not good enough to be here????? Please someone explain that to me?
No no, in my opinion he should be here. I'm just saying I don't think he's our best option in the games where we are dominating possesion and facing a low block.
 

phenry

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I think like a lot of players in the squad he is pushing the boundaries of his skill set in particular his shooting opertunities and passing range. Ole is a good man manager and is probably encouraging him to become a better player so hopefully it pays dividends. In the mean time he's good enough to justify his place on the team and im willing to be patient in the hope he improves.. I don't agree that he had a great game against Tottenham though
 

AR87

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Yeah. I don't think he's been as good as last season and been in poor(ish) form lately...but not a lot of players have been in good form in the same period so seems weird to specifically target him.
I think his form to start this season was just as good, but dipped in the month or so leading up to the Leicester match. I believe a primary reason for that, which I feel gets overlooked or dismissed, is the sheer amount of minutes he's racked up since the start of the 19/20 season because he has stayed fit for the duration while others like Pogba and McTominay have missed more time.

Minutes played since the start of 19/20 in all comps:

Fred - 6657
Pogba - 3817
McTominay - 5252
Matic - 4251

Given the condensed nature of this season, his all-action style of play, and his minutes load since the start of the 2019/20 campaign I don't think it's even realistic to expect his form to not dip at all. The main issue, at least as I see it, is that Matic is virtually unreliable now and has largely been poor aside from a nice run of form post-lockdown which slowly dropped off towards the end of last season. He's been very ineffective this season when called upon, so when Pogba has missed time due to injury and covid it has meant that Fred and McTominay have been depended upon to play every match and almost always without any substitute available.

What we really need isn't an upgrade on Fred, but a replacement for Matic who can provide competition and hopefully a different type of option in midfield than what Fred (and McTominay) provide. If Pogba leaves this summer that's obviously another gaping hole which must be addressed before we even consider moving on Fred or replacing him.
 

Falcow

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You can say it is a bizarre view and back it up by flawed stats about being most “involved” player.
I just see what I see.
I watched the Spurs game again and it is obvious. He constantly follows the ball.

Happy to give examples , although I can’t post videos.
What is flawed about those stats?

Yes he constantly follows the ball, (thankfully someone in the team does) and then he puts in a challenge etc.

Or maybe you have another explanation as to why he has significantly more touches on the ball than anyone else on either side? I'd genuinely like to know:

A. Why do you think he has significantly more touches than any other player on the field?
B. How can he have significantly more touches than anyone else whilst engaging in constant ball watching? as you say.

Having the most touches in a game whilst simultaneously ball watching is the very definition of mutually exclusive.
 

Falcow

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I think his form to start this season was just as good, but dipped in the month or so leading up to the Leicester match. I believe a primary reason for that, which I feel gets overlooked or dismissed, is the sheer amount of minutes he's racked up since the start of the 19/20 season because he has stayed fit for the duration while others like Pogba and McTominay have missed more time.

Minutes played since the start of 19/20 in all comps:

Fred - 6657
Pogba - 3817
McTominay - 5252
Matic - 4251

Given the condensed nature of this season, his all-action style of play, and his minutes load since the start of the 2019/20 campaign I don't think it's even realistic to expect his form to not dip at all. The main issue, at least as I see it, is that Matic is virtually unreliable now and has largely been poor aside from a nice run of form post-lockdown which slowly dropped off towards the end of last season. He's been very ineffective this season when called upon, so when Pogba has missed time due to injury and covid it has meant that Fred and McTominay have been depended upon to play every match and almost always without any substitute available.

What we really need isn't an upgrade on Fred, but a replacement for Matic who can provide competition and hopefully a different type of option in midfield than what Fred (and McTominay) provide. If Pogba leaves this summer that's obviously another gaping hole which must be addressed before we even consider moving on Fred or replacing him.
Excellent post and I concur fully.
 

Falcow

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There are some strange opinions of Fred that become truisms. I think many stem from his first season and simply have stuck. I think many focus on his mistakes and ignore his strengths. He's far from perfect, has his moments but I think that's pretty applicable to every player. The 50m price tag didn't help but people forget that was an inflated market with the likes of 70m for Pepe (that some Utd fans thought was a steal) 80m for Harry and Chelsea paid that for a Goalkeeper.
He'll continue to polarise opinions with fans taking a forensic view of every time not only he's on the ball, but equally when he is not.
Yeah. I always think the commentators are the perfect example of it. None of them ever give him an ounce of credit. He does have his faults and does misplace passes but nowhere near as much as either Rashford and Bruno for instance whose misuse of the ball is criminal at times.

The other one that grinds my gears is 'we need an upgrade if we are going to challenge' completely ignoring the fact that 3 of our 4 strikers have approx 15 league goals between them this season. If they had managed a measley 10 each by now, we would probably be level with City i.e. challenging.
 

Pogue Mahone

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I think his form to start this season was just as good, but dipped in the month or so leading up to the Leicester match. I believe a primary reason for that, which I feel gets overlooked or dismissed, is the sheer amount of minutes he's racked up since the start of the 19/20 season because he has stayed fit for the duration while others like Pogba and McTominay have missed more time.

Minutes played since the start of 19/20 in all comps:

Fred - 6657
Pogba - 3817
McTominay - 5252
Matic - 4251

Given the condensed nature of this season, his all-action style of play, and his minutes load since the start of the 2019/20 campaign I don't think it's even realistic to expect his form to not dip at all. The main issue, at least as I see it, is that Matic is virtually unreliable now and has largely been poor aside from a nice run of form post-lockdown which slowly dropped off towards the end of last season. He's been very ineffective this season when called upon, so when Pogba has missed time due to injury and covid it has meant that Fred and McTominay have been depended upon to play every match and almost always without any substitute available.

What we really need isn't an upgrade on Fred, but a replacement for Matic who can provide competition and hopefully a different type of option in midfield than what Fred (and McTominay) provide. If Pogba leaves this summer that's obviously another gaping hole which must be addressed before we even consider moving on Fred or replacing him.
Good post.

Not only has he racked up an enormous amount of minutes, he’s done this while consistently standing out as the hardest working United player on the pitch. That level of effort and resistance to injury is criminally under-rated and hard to replace.
 

JJ12

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Very good squad player and even though it sounds a bit bizarre - much better option against better teams than weaker teams.
 

Ali Dia

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Yeah. I always think the commentators are the perfect example of it. None of them ever give him an ounce of credit. He does have his faults and does misplace passes but nowhere near as much as either Rashford and Bruno for instance whose misuse of the ball is criminal at times.

The other one that grinds my gears is 'we need an upgrade if we are going to challenge' completely ignoring the fact that 3 of our 4 strikers have approx 15 league goals between them this season. If they had managed a measley 10 each by now, we would probably be level with City i.e. challenging.
Don’t try and figure out why the forwards are misfiring though. People get all nutty about that. Our much maligned midfield is more than holding its own compared to the competition. It’s often the attack that’s pedestrian and lacking in cohesion and that leads to unnecessary pressure building on the defenders in games we should otherwise have been winning at a canter. The forwards get plenty of ball high up and in good areas. It’s not the midfields fault they have been a black hole of creativity or generally look clueless when Bruno isn’t at it
 
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Lappen

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Good points, and to be direct, I do focus on Fred as a weakness in the team,but, I’m also frustrated that I see a player with fantastic energy and commitment but no awareness. If he could get his head up and anticipate dangerous situations more and stop just ball watching, I think he’d be a great player.

I’m not directly critisizing him alone. Pogba is constantly caught on the ball. McT struggles to command the middle and Matic is getting slower.

I’d like to see him tried on the left side more and not so much covering whole back four. He seems to have good link up play with Shaw and can use his natural left foot to more effect.
He did play really well for some time in Oles first half season. Even had him as a contender to player of the year. He didn't lose the ball and wasn't everywhere on the pith. Then he had the intervju in Brasil where he talked down some players and after that he didn't played as well. Probably not the reason but it was at the same time. I remember thinking that he needs to get his feet to the ground again.
I to like the energi he put out there and he always try to do the job, I just don't think its good enough for a starter in a top three team.
We aren't the best team in England, and if we want to be that, his spot is a good start to improve.
On the left I see so many others I prefer there. But you are right about getting him to not try to cover so much space. If Ole could make him not want so much, and not try to be everywhere, he would improve. Its hard to just do what you are good at, its so funny doing the assists and score :0)

Finding the players that love defence is difficult.
 

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You know Nicky Butt spent 12 years at Utd, 6 prem titles, 3 FA cups and CL. He didn't do that just collecting the bibs and putting out the cones, he played in big games and some of our biggest achievements as a club were due to not nailed on players. I know what you mean, but football has always been a squad game.
He also was preferred to Scholes quite often (their appearances are pretty much identical in the treble season for instance) but everyone forgets that.
 

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I also enjoy how people pick out the less fancy players in successful teams, the unsung heros and decide that they were obviously carried to success by their more classy teammates when in a lot of cases it’s actually the other way around. Players like Butt Fletcher Irwin Ole Brown and Park were class players in their own right that would have been captain at most other clubs
 
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glazed

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Fair point. He's a very useful squad player in a league winning team, possibly a starter, we'll see. The funny thing is you want him in your team in all the big games. It's against the lesser teams where he's less useful.
The nonsense on here about him being terrible is just that though.
Yeah he's ok, sometimes quite good, occasionally great. He deserves an awful of of credit for having been brought in as an attacking midfielder and become a more defensive one. So it's possible he will become as good as Kante given enough time. The best I can say is that at the start of the season replacing Matic was a massive priority and now it's just a pretty decent idea.
 

glazed

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The issue is that we expect him to do a lot more than what Kante is expected to do for Chelsea. Fred's not just supposed to do the same defensive work as Kante does, he's also expected to be our main ball-player and setting the tempo.
Is that still true though? That was his original role I agree, but I feel like that job has gone to Pogba and Bruno now.
 

Bilbo

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Good post.

Not only has he racked up an enormous amount of minutes, he’s done this while consistently standing out as the hardest working United player on the pitch. That level of effort and resistance to injury is criminally under-rated and hard to replace.
Howson made a solid point on a video I watched today. United fans in general have little patience with squad players. You're either Bruno or you need to get out of the club ASAP.

The fans are constantly looking for upgrades on half the team, ignoring the huge number of players that Ferguson used regularly that were never considered to be top class.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Howson made a solid point on a video I watched today. United fans in general have little patience with squad players. You're either Bruno or you need to get out of the club ASAP.

The fans are constantly looking for upgrades on half the team, ignoring the huge number of players that Ferguson used regularly that were never considered to be top class.
Yeah, that’s a good point. We managed to go through one of the most successful/dominant periods in the history of football with at least four or five players in the squad consistently singled out as “not good enough” by a good sized proportion of the fan base.
 

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Howson made a solid point on a video I watched today. United fans in general have little patience with squad players. You're either Bruno or you need to get out of the club ASAP.

The fans are constantly looking for upgrades on half the team, ignoring the huge number of players that Ferguson used regularly that were never considered to be top class.
Yeah, that’s a good point. We managed to go through one of the most successful/dominant periods in the history of football with at least four or five players in the squad consistently singled out as “not good enough” by a good sized proportion of the fan base.
Cant speak for everyone, but winning titles even as a squad player will give you a greater standing. Not a knock on Park in the slightest, thought he was a great footballer, and it could just be since were on a United forum, but the Asian footballer thread should speak volumes of what titles can do for a player's rep.
 

glazed

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I don’t think it’s possible to genuinely set the tempo when your starting position is at 10 or on the left. It’s Fred setting the tempo in behind one or both in all our good games this season
I've always suspected 'setting the tempo' is a phrase Paul Scholes made up to get a pay rise :devil:
 

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I've always suspected 'setting the tempo' is a phrase Paul Scholes made up to get a pay rise :devil:
Paul Scholes was worth every penny and more :)

I think you need to be getting the ball off the defenders or keeper to set the tempo. He sets the tempo and gets us up the pitch and then joins in as an attacker too. There aren’t very many players like that, that I can see anyway.
 
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OrcaFat

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Howson made a solid point on a video I watched today. United fans in general have little patience with squad players. You're either Bruno or you need to get out of the club ASAP.

The fans are constantly looking for upgrades on half the team, ignoring the huge number of players that Ferguson used regularly that were never considered to be top class.
I agree with this.

I think the underlying truth here is that Utd cannot simply identify the best 22 players in the world and acquire them. If we could, the likes of Fred and the squad / fringe players wouldn’t be here.

Whilst most Utd fans realise we can’t click our fingers, many do seem to think we have a right to 22 world class players by hook or crook, which we’ve never really had.

I think there is a middle ground to be found when assessing Fred:

He is a very good player, much improved, great attitude, and effective with the right players alongside. Certainly a better passer than some are making out but with more obvious attributes of stamina, tenacity, mobility, all of which are vital. From the players we have it is easy to see why he is selected so often.

Nevertheless, he does lack composure, his touch and close control are sometimes unreliable and his passing lacks precision fairly often. The result is that he gets caught in possession or puts team mates under pressure or plain gives it away. Sometimes.

And so, on balance, I think most of us agree he is not quite as good as we’d like our starting CM to be. Going back to your post, it’s then down to tolerance for players who fall into that category and yet get selected often. He has a lot of value to the squad but if we can get someone better for the first 11 we should.
 

glazed

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Paul Scholars was worth every penny and more :)

I think you need to be getting the ball off the defenders or keeper to set the tempo. He sets the tempo and gets us up the pitch and then joins in as an attacker too. There aren’t very many players like that, that I can see anyway.
Well I'm still not sure what it means but I'm glad he's doing it well. He's certainly in my starting first XI but I'd still upgrade if I wanted to win the title or the UCL.
 

Will Singh

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I watched a Q&A of Fred abs Telles, Telles said in Brazil they like a players who’s like a bulldog and that’s what Fred is for us. I agree with this statement but the problem is that’s half the job. The other half is passing and shooting... I know stats might make it not look bad but during the Spurs game he was awful up until he scored. I think right know having him works and if I’m honest I’d like him replaced sadly as I do love he’s passion but like I said that’s only half the job!
 

MikeeMike

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I guess we all see what we want to see. If you can see such a glaring hole in his game, unless you are currently a professional coach, you are wasted in whatever you do for a living.
Well resorting to insults doesn’t help. I’m happy to give examples of his “no awareness” starting with Spurs first goal. Which as I said he wasnt at fault for but was niave in closing down , falling over, losing his man then stopping to look.
What is flawed about those stats?

Yes he constantly follows the ball, (thankfully someone in the team does) and then he puts in a challenge etc.

Or maybe you have another explanation as to why he has significantly more touches on the ball than anyone else on either side? I'd genuinely like to know:

A. Why do you think he has significantly more touches than any other player on the field?
B. How can he have significantly more touches than anyone else whilst engaging in constant ball watching? as you say.

Having the most touches in a game whilst simultaneously ball watching is the very definition of mutually exclusive.
Flawed because:
A: as you claim, he had the most touches. This has no correlation to what I was saying i.e. flawed
B: No, not mutually exclusive, where does it state that “very definition”.

But to be clear. When opposition are attacking , I never see him look around to assess the threat. He “constantly” ball watches. No statistics can show this but just watch a replay of any game and you’ll see.

Hence, in my opinion , he is not as effective as he could be in decision making due to this.

So , I am frustrated as I feel he could be coached to do this more and it would improve his game.
 

Redlyn

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I think his form to start this season was just as good, but dipped in the month or so leading up to the Leicester match. I believe a primary reason for that, which I feel gets overlooked or dismissed, is the sheer amount of minutes he's racked up since the start of the 19/20 season because he has stayed fit for the duration while others like Pogba and McTominay have missed more time.

Minutes played since the start of 19/20 in all comps:

Fred - 6657
Pogba - 3817
McTominay - 5252
Matic - 4251

Given the condensed nature of this season, his all-action style of play, and his minutes load since the start of the 2019/20 campaign I don't think it's even realistic to expect his form to not dip at all. The main issue, at least as I see it, is that Matic is virtually unreliable now and has largely been poor aside from a nice run of form post-lockdown which slowly dropped off towards the end of last season. He's been very ineffective this season when called upon, so when Pogba has missed time due to injury and covid it has meant that Fred and McTominay have been depended upon to play every match and almost always without any substitute available.

What we really need isn't an upgrade on Fred, but a replacement for Matic who can provide competition and hopefully a different type of option in midfield than what Fred (and McTominay) provide. If Pogba leaves this summer that's obviously another gaping hole which must be addressed before we even consider moving on Fred or replacing him.
Well said.
 

Wing Attack Plan R

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Howson made a solid point on a video I watched today. United fans in general have little patience with squad players. You're either Bruno or you need to get out of the club ASAP.

The fans are constantly looking for upgrades on half the team, ignoring the huge number of players that Ferguson used regularly that were never considered to be top class.
I think the point a lot of United fans are making is that Fred *should be* a squad player, not a starter. Fred's admirers claim he should be a nailed-on starter, and that causes the fanbase to split in two.
 

mu4c_20le

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Fred is already way ahead of Anderson.

Yeah we'll always have Moscow and the 10/11 start where him and Cleverly were prime but
80% of the time he was here he was a mascot he should have been moved on 3/4 years before he was.
There was also the time he shat on Fabregas and went toe to toe with Stevie Me. But other than their shooting, they aren't really alike. Anderson had a better passing range in his very short prime, while Fred's energy and fitness levels are on a different stratosphere.
 

MattJ166

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Fred is a tricky one, a lot of the time he does not pass the "eye test" and it can leave the general feeling that he has had more bad games than good. On the other hand, the stats make him look like he's a much much better player than he probably is. I do agree that a lot of his work can go unnoticed, I'd be happy to let him stay and I think he's a guaranteed starter for the big games where we need that all energy, quick tempo approach but I don't think it's outlandish to suggest that we could improve on him.
 
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Falcow

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Well resorting to insults doesn’t help. I’m happy to give examples of his “no awareness” starting with Spurs first goal. Which as I said he wasnt at fault for but was niave in closing down , falling over, losing his man then stopping to look.

Flawed because:
A: as you claim, he had the most touches. This has no correlation to what I was saying i.e. flawed
B: No, not mutually exclusive, where does it state that “very definition”.

But to be clear. When opposition are attacking , I never see him look around to assess the threat. He “constantly” ball watches. No statistics can show this but just watch a replay of any game and you’ll see.

Hence, in my opinion , he is not as effective as he could be in decision making due to this.

So , I am frustrated as I feel he could be coached to do this more and it would improve his game.
Fair enough. I just dont see it with him and it's probably the last thing I would accuse him of but maybe I'm just blind to it.

I do also think it is very difficult to both ball watch a lot while also being more involved in the play than anyone else but I'll make an effort in next few games to see if I spot any ball watching.