Manchester United midfielder Fred has been criticised by former Red Devils ace Lee Sharpe for being so inconsistent.
Whilst Sharpe admits that the Brazil international has his qualities, he also feels he is still too prone to some silly errors on the pitch.
United fans will probably share these mixed feelings about Fred, who has improved this season, but perhaps remains something of an under-achiever, given his natural ability.
Sharpe, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on the Manchester Derby, discussed the general state of United’s squad, saying he doesn’t think they’re too far away from being genuine title contenders.
However, he singled out Fred as one player that the club could perhaps improve on.
“I don’t think United are far off being a title-winning side at all, really,” Sharpe said.
“When you’re in that position, you’ve first and foremost got to make sure that you’re structurally sound in defence and I think they’ve got that in Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are a handy pair to have as well. They could possibly bring in another central defender but I don’t think that would make too much a difference.
“It’s more about the midfielders sitting in front of that defence and protecting them – particularly in the big games. I think Nemanja Matic does a good job of it when he comes in.
“I’m not sure about Fred. One minute he’s doing something brilliant, the next he’s doing something an under-15 schoolboy would do.
“He’s liable to give the ball away on the edge of his own box and he’s just as liable to carry the ball, beat a couple of players and slot the ball through to someone to score a goal.
“I think really it’s about those holding midfielders doing their job, that helps on the clean sheet front.”
Man Utd signed Fred back in 2018 after impressing at Shakhtar Donetsk, but it seems he still hasn’t won over everyone.
Still, it seems he retains the faith of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, so we can’t imagine this is a position United will be making an urgent transfer priority this summer.