Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Fred has completely transformed his United career in the last 2 years.
Photo Courtesy: Bleacher Report
Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos, or as we better know him, ‘Pastor Fred’, joined Manchester United in the summer transfer window of 2018 for a fee in the region of €50 million. But, his start to life at the Greater Manchester club wasn’t the most ideal. In fact, he had become ‘almost a joke’, as per Martin Keown, after his first year at the club. As soon as he had the ball on his feet, he almost looked as if he had never played football before.
At times, it felt as if he had springs fit in both feet as the ball bounced away every time he touched it. Fast-forward to the present, this Fred is almost unrecognizable to the unsure player we had previously seen, putting in battling performances in the midfield. So, what has changed since then? Let’s have a look...
Fred's Role at Shakhtar Donetsk
Fred came in with the reputation of being the energy of the midfield engine
Photo Courtesy: Football Whispers
The Brazilian played as RCM in a 4-2-3-1 for Shakhtar. In possession, he used to act as the deep-lying playmaker, playing the ball between the lines and dictating the tempo of the game. When out of possession, Fred had the role of a ball-winning midfielder. He was very aggressive in closing down players and excellent in winning the ball. Statman Dave described him as a ball-winning, deep-lying playmaker.
He was really energetic and occupied various positions in possession. His biggest strength seemed to be his two-footedness, allowing him to play the ball on either side of the pitch with ease. He was calm on the ball and his off-the-ball movement allowed him more space and time to make forward passes. He was very good at breaking the play and making those line-breaking passes that allowed his team to quickly break forward with his driving runs.