Some of the responses of Manchester United fans to the centerfield pick of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Copenhagen have been thrilling.
The next rational growth of Solskjear has been the first time that he started to improve his midfield when he first selected Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes together in the camps. Solskjaer had thought Nemanja Matic was the right midfield defensive foil for the duo before and unsurprisingly, but Fred’s quarterfinals for the Europa League had tongues wagging.
Fred and Matic’s “Woes”
There were fans of hope that this might wreak a significant tragedy, potentially the most attacking trio from midfield United had ever chosen. Fred isn’t a natural defensive midfielder, but Solskjaer and Michael Carrick are being cared for in the role. In his United days, the latter, a master in the role, was heard shouting “well done Fred” repeatedly in the 1-0 Copenhagen victory.
Carrick was largely right in thanking him. In comparison to one massive gap that almost cost United, Fred reaffirmed his option as the Danish media swamped him on the ball. The 27-year-old knew he had made a mistake, but afterward, he tried to fix it and was misled when he was sent off for Matic in the second half.
This seems to be a problem whether Fred can or cannot be a viable choice for United in the more defensive middle positions on the Solskjaer scheme right now. The mistake with Copenhagen somewhat summarized his success after the restart, at times inconsistent, appeared unsettled after he lost his place on his side.
Some of the same can be said of Scott McTominay, who started the league against Crystal Palace alongside Pogba a month ago, but who was substituted by Matic like Fred. Solskjaer finds it impossible to trust anyone other but the Serbian foreign guy to sit behind Pogba and Fernandes-who are instant choices.
He values Fred and McTominay as footballers and, in particular, as part of an intermediate pivot between two players that United played earlier when Pogba was injured. The two layers look more confident, but Pogba looks more positively, and Solskjaer genuinely understands the need for harmony.
After the reset, he needed Fred and McTominay by his side, but after the first match against Tottenham, after the two men were dropped, the Norwegian had no alternative.
In July, he acknowledged that he had difficulty continuing to abandon them, as he started five straight games on the same side.
“One it’s because of good form and two, they do create a nice unit and attacking threat,” he said, clearly referring to the balance brought by Matic. “But we have got other players. It’s so difficult for me to leave Scott and Fred out the team and Brandon [Williams] and Dan James out. We’ve got players who deserve to play, but we will need everyone.”
Matic has his experience and position, making him the most expert defensive midfielder United practically has right now. James Garner may be a potential prospect for that reason, but he will be loaned to a Championship club for the next season.
Under normal conditions, maybe United would look to the transfer market to get someone with whom they are profoundly connected, such as Declan Rice or Wilfred Ndidi. Matic may have signed a new deal recently, but he’s 32 years old and can not play through anymore. Exchange ties from the Premier League of major stars are likely.
There is no question that both the destroyers of West Ham and Leicester have worth at the back of the four, but they will have a lot of expense. As it stands, United have their eyes set on Sancho even After Dortmund confirmed he would remain in the team for the coming season. If this should continue, and considering the price tag of United’s target, no other major signing will be made.
Yet Solskjaer trusts Fred and McTominay to back Matic up.
He will continue to throw them into the fray so that they are more familiar with the position, potentially one of the most skilled in soccer. For United, it is a good thing that they have at least choices.