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Why Fred is perfect for Manchester United, explains former Shakhtar coach

 

By Miguel Delaney

When £52m signing Fred arrives at Manchester United squad after the World Cup, many of his team-mates might make the mistake that those from Shakhtar Donetsk did when he first arrived in Ukraine in 2013 - that he's small, so might be easy to knock off the ball.

It is an easy mistake given that slight 5ft 6in frame - but it could lead to a few difficult moments in training. Former Shakhtar assistant Miguel Cardoso said: "He's very brave and, in challenges, so strong."

The 25-year-old will likely add more than steel to United though. Fred will also add that high-grade oil to make them a much slicker, free-moving side. That is another of his strengths - and he has many of those that Jose Mourinho most specifically wants this summer.

The United boss has been concerned with bolstering his midfield in this window - although he is also closing in on Porto's £17.4m full-back Diogo Dalot - and wants a player to create a more fluid link between Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.

That necessitates fine positional sense, strong tackling and quick passing, all under Mourinho's wider demand that any new players signed be "warriors", who follow his tactical instructions like soldiers.

Cardoso, however, feels Fred is "perfect" for this.

"He is perfect," the Portuguese coach enthused, having worked at Shakhtar for Fred's first four years there. "If Fred needs to fight, he'll fight. When he needs to play, he plays. He's very brave.

"He's a player with great ambition who doesn't have a fear of any situation. He is the type of player who, when things are going badly, you can give the ball to. He has a strong nerve.

"His technical capacity is enormous. And in challenges, even though he's small, he's strong.

"But the real positive to him being small is that he doesn't have a problem playing in tight spaces, and coming out with the ball to drive play. He's also excellent box to box, has that energy, and is so good tactically. He has a deep understanding.

"So, whatever Jose will ask of him, he will try to do well. He's also decisive. If he has to do something, he'll do it. He has all the ingredients required to take his Shakhtar game to United, a player with extreme quality."

There's also the wider issue of how he takes to the Premier League and the pressures of a club like United, but Cardoso doesn't foresee any problems.

"In Ukraine, they play in bad conditions with the snow, with very bad pitches, but his technical quality meant he was even more effective," he explained.

"Fred has Champions League and Europa League experience. In the last few years, the Ukrainian league hasn't been as strong, but Fred played in it when there was a lot of fight. He succeeded."

Given that Mourinho has expressed frustrations with some of the trappings of the modern professional, this is another area where Fred could be "perfect".

"He knows what it means to be a professional," Cardoso said. "They're going to get a lad who is a great man, lovely to be around. He's not only humble, he's always happy, relaxed. Everyone will like him. Fred is a family guy. He has his girlfriend. You don't see him out much. Very relaxed life.

"He is always trying to get better. At the end of training, he would always be staying behind to work on technical aspects of his game. He's always looking to be better."

It seems he has all the qualities required to make United - and Pogba - better.

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