One to watch – Fred (Brazil)

Manchester United-bound Fred is with the Brazil squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Oli Scarff / AFP


Overview of Player

Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos, or better known as Fred, is a 25 year old Brazilian central midfielder. Fred has recently signed for Premier League giants, Manchester United, after a five year spell at Ukraine’s second most successful club, Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of around €50 million.

The Brazilian midfielder played 115 games over the five year period he spent at the club, creating 15 goals and scoring 15. The defensive midfielder has been dominant in the success of Shakhtar Donetsk’s back to back titles.

Fred was handed a one year ban for doping in the COPA America, he was found guilty of testing positive for diuretic, which is essentially increasing the times you need to urinate. He missed a key number of games for Brazil and Shakhtar over this time.

Overview of Nation

Brazil are the most successful team in World Cup history, however, they haven’t lifted the trophy since 2002. Having won the World Cup five times, it goes without saying that Brazil are always a threat in any major tournament and with the form that the attacking players are currently in, it will be hard to stop the threat of Coutinho, Firmino, Neymar and co.

Their road to the World Cup was relatively easy, winning 12 of the 18 games in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, losing only to Chile, a 3-0 loss. Gabriel Jesus was the lead goal scorer for Brazil in the qualifiers, scoring 7 times over the 10 game period – prolific comes to mind.

Performance of player in qualification

Surprisingly Fred featured very little in the World Cup qualifiers, but much to that was down to him being banned from playing due to doping. In more recent games he came off the bench against Croatia for a total of 9 minutes, although this doesn’t sound promising, with games coming thick and fast, it is the perfect opportunity for him to get game time.

Brazil typically play in a 4-1-4-1 system, with three central midfielders, so it completely suits Fred in the deeper of the three role or even in the middle two. He can influence the World Cup with his fantastic passing distribution and contribution in defensive phases of play, this to me, is very important. Brazil are always a team that look exciting going forward but it is important to be able to recycle possession and Fred has the ability to do that.

One of the weaknesses in Fred’s game is by no fault of his own, he is typically a small player who is 5 foot 5 inches and for a central midfielder will lose out on many aerial duels.

Why he’s one to watch

Like mentioned above, I have pointed out some of his strengths and weaknesses,but there’s a lot more to his game. Despite being small, he is a game changer from a defensive role. He has the ability to drive at defences as well as being very influential in transitional phases of play.

Fred has very good technique on the ball and often beats his man, this might not be the most important aspect of his game but it can definitely influences games.

The Brazilian has gone under the radar in terms of international appearances, with Fernandinho, Casemiro, Paulinho taking the midfield positions. This is a perfect opportunity for Fred to introduce himself to the international stage.

Video of player/compilation

Here is a highlight video of Manchester United’s latest signing and Dictate The Game’s one to watch.

Football Manager Screenshot


As mentioned about Fred’s height, you can clearly tell he lacks in this area with a low jumping reach and heading attributes. The player is particularity strong in areas such as technique, decisions and agility which is so key for a midfielder who has the ability to create space and make the right decisions at the right time.

This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018

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