‘McFred’ defined a Manchester United era – but how should she be remembered?

There were two great defensive midfielders with Manchester United affiliations at Old Trafford on Monday. Roy Keane seemed surprised that new recruit Casemiro came over to hug him. Perhaps the Brazilian grew up hearing tales of the Irishman’s exploits against Juventus in 1999. Maybe he just wanted to dodge the harsh reviews Keane made from the television studio about Harry Maguire. But United’s most famous captain may have felt a kindred spirit nonetheless.

Because by the time Casemiro arrived, Keane felt his legacy wasn’t being kept. Arguably United’s last truly successful signing at the base of midfield was Michael Carrick, who took over Keane’s No 16 shirt when he arrived in 2006; For at least a few years, Anderson threatened to take on that mantle. But if Paul Scholes and Carrick are one of the two crucial partnerships in United’s central midfield since Keane left, the others are Scott McTominay and Fred.

They were United’s Xavi and Iniesta, their Pirlo and Gattuso: admittedly not in terms of talent or trophies, as they weren’t Champions League or World champions. But they were bracketed together, on the field and in the imagination.

And then, in an act of wanton vandalism, Erik ten Hag spent his summer plotting to break up “McFred.” He spent months tracking Frenkie de Jong. He tried Adrien Rabiot and created the delicious possibility of United building a McFrediot. He signed Christian Eriksen and then Casemiro. And when the transfer fee and the former Real Madrid man’s contract are around £140million and there’s no prospect of big resale value, it’s a huge investment to see McFred finish.

The warning signs were there for the duo. McTominay and Fred began with Ten Hag’s management bow, just as they began with Ralf Rangnick’s and Carrick’s. But the Brazilian was the first player to be replaced by the Dutchman; A week later, McTominay was the first to be dropped as Eriksen was installed as a false six instead. Then Fred was left out and the Scot returned to shine against Liverpool as his mileage came in handy.

Although the McTominator’s renaissance turns out to be a 90 Minutes affair, it was actually a publicity for his merits. Return to happier days under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, at the time when they were the scourge of teams with greater ball security and more refined tactics and McFred was fundamental. Solskjaer’s double wins against Paris Saint-Germain in France came with McFred; The first may have landed the Norwegian in a contract and was a breakthrough for United’s odd couple. They won Manchester derbies at Etihad Stadium; In one of them, McTominay scored from 40 yards. They won at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Scott McTominay and Fred have shown their quality at times

(Getty Images)

Granted, it felt like the less possession they had, the better they could be. McFred’s skills – running and rushing – made them better suited for games when they had less possession. McTominay has the attitude to play for United; just maybe not the ability. Fred was one of the best players under Rangnick, but managed to remain oddly accident-prone with his propensity for red cards and unnecessarily misplaced passes.

If at times it seemed like United couldn’t progress with McFred, they’ve gone down without her. United won 55 per cent of games, both of which started last season, and just 30 of which one or neither started; In 2019-20 it was 58 percent with both, 48 without their alliance; 2018-19 50 if they were in the dishes, 49 if they weren’t. Only in 2020-21 were their win rates lower when they got separated, and even then they lost more games (24 percent to 14) without their collective willingness to do the dirty work. Relatively few of last season’s worst humiliations came alongside McFred. They made United harder to beat and watch.

They were Old Trafford’s great survivors. They sidestepped the far more gifted Paul Pogba, sometimes relegating him to the bench or left wing. Every summer United seemed to sign or sign a superior midfielder but they never did.

“McFred” has often been blamed for major problems at Old Trafford

(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

In part, it illustrated the recruitment policies of a club fixated on the rich and famous, which overloaded top-flight attackers and neglected rear midfield. It was like building a supergroup with a multitude of glamorous singers and guitarists, but then just backing them up with the most mundane drummer and bassist they could find.

McFred was the rhythm section and United lacked Manchester City’s through rhythm. But McFred, with a superbly ridiculous nickname that seemed to combine the innate stickiness of McDonald’s and Right Said Fred, making them an even easier scapegoat, rarely felt the cause of the locker room troubles.

At least they tried. It’s an approach that means everyone should be fit for a hard-working backup role. Perhaps the preferred combination from now on is Casemiro and Eriksen behind Bruno Fernandes. Perhaps it will be one or the other and Casemiro spoke of rekindling his Selecao dual role with Fred, while McTominay’s performance against Liverpool gives him a strong case to keep his place.

But when McFred’s era comes to an end, United should plan a fitting tribute. They celebrated men who shaped their time at Old Trafford. And so, alongside the statue of the Holy Trinity by George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, there should also be one by McFred.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/man-united-news-mcfred-casemiro-ten-hag-b2151042.html ‘McFred’ defined a Manchester United era – but how should she be remembered?

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button