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‘People thought Fred was a No.10 as £50m Brazilian’ – Man Utd star can be ‘perfect midfield player’, says Hargreaves

19:31 GMT+4 14/03/2020
Fred Manchester United 2019-20
The former Red Devils star is among those to have been impressed by a South American this season and is happy to see him silencing his critics

Fred has the potential to become “the perfect midfield player”, says Owen Hargreaves, with the Manchester United star silencing the critics who expected him to be a No.10 as a Brazilian with a £50 million ($61m) price tag.

The Red Devils dug deep to win the race for a much sought-after signature in the summer of 2018.

Jose Mourinho lured Fred away from Shakhtar Donetsk, fending off rival interest from Manchester City in the process.

The South American star initially struggled to produce his best in England, with a forgettable debut campaign delivering plenty of questions.

Many of those have been answered in 2019-20, with Hargreaves of the opinion that the talented 27-year-old is thriving as his best position has been indentified and acknowledged.

The former United midfielder told Premier League Productions of Fred: “He’s a complete midfield player but if he can add goals to his game then he’ll be the perfect midfield player.

“In possession he’s very good, out of possession he’s really aggressive and now the players around him are functioning which is a really good sign.

“I think because they paid £50m for Fred and he’s Brazilian that people thought he was a No.10 but he isn’t.

“He’s not a goalscorer and he’s not really creative but what he is is a really good midfield player. He’s two-footed and now we’re seeing the player that was at Shakhtar, where in the Champions League he put in some brilliant performances against the best teams.

“He’s energetic without the ball and now with [Nemanja] Matic as a sitter Fred can be box-to-box, before he was too high and sometimes too deep but now this is a midfield three [Matic, Fred, Bruno Fernandes] it’s balanced, everyone feels comfortable.”

Fred has taken in 39 appearances for United this season, registering two goals and four assists, with his efforts seeing him held up as one of the Red Devils’ biggest success stories in 2019-20.

The challenge will be to maintain the standards he has set once competitive action resumes after the coronavirus-enforced break and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dipped back into the transfer market this summer for further reinforcements.