Sunday 18 August 2019

Five things you may not know about Manchester United's new midfielder Fred including a failed doping test

Brazil midfielder Fred has joined Manchester United from Shakhtar Donetsk (Mike Egerton/Empics)
Brazil midfielder Fred has joined Manchester United from Shakhtar Donetsk (Mike Egerton/Empics)

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Fred after a transfer battle with rivals City. We’ve heard the name before but how much do we really know about the Brazilian?

Here are five things you might not have known about Mourinho’s new signing:

Tongue twister

We’ve all heard of Fred and associate him immediately with Brazil even though he hasn’t yet set the world of football alight. He is probably so recognisable because of how distinctly unBrazilian his name sounds. Much like many of his footballing compatriots, he isn’t actually known on the field by his real name.

The shortened version of his name, Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos is used, much to the relief of pundits like of Paul Merson who struggles at the best of times.

Don’t bother sticking him on the back post for a corner

The 25-year-old has all but one of the attributes required to be a perfect central midfielder. His passing ability off both feet is up there with the best in the world and he doesn't shirk his defensive responsibilities but his most mastered skill is the dribble. In this year's Champions League, Fred amassed a 95% success rate when taking on defenders.

His only downfall is his height. At a mere five foot seven inches, he stands well below the five foot eleven average for professional footballers. He is notably strong for his height however, and has the ability to fight for a ball against much bigger players.

Small man syndrome?

What he lacks in height, Fred makes up for in aggression. The box-to-box midfielder's dogged attitude does get him into some trouble though. Last year in 19 appearances he received 13 yellow cards and one sending off.     

Controversial past

Fred was drafted into Brazil’s 2015 Copa America squad where is helped the Selecao to a quarter-final spot. During the tournament though he was found positive for an illegal diuretic, Hydrochlorothiazide, and was banned for a year by FIFA and South American federation Conmebol.

Music to the fans’ ears

For the past number of years United have had to listen to their noisy neighbours City. Although Mourinho’s men delayed City’s Premier League triumph last season with a win at the Etihad, they had little else to lord over their greatest rivals. One of the most important qualities in a United player is their ability to leave Manchester red on derby day.

As new signings go, Fred is more than qualified. The Brazilian shone in Shakhtar Donetsk’s victory over City in the Champions League in December, putting an end to Pep Guardiola’s side’s unbeaten run in competitive competitions.

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