Man Utd star draws Neymar comparisons as Fred discusses what ‘quality’ teammate ‘has to keep doing’

Man Utd forwards Marcus Rashford and Antony Credit: Alamy
Man Utd forwards Marcus Rashford and Antony Credit: Alamy

Manchester United midfielder Fred has likened his star teammate Antony to Neymar, discussing a skill he feels the winger “has to keep doing”.

Antony joined the Red Devils with a lot of expectation on him. Indeed, with a price tag of £85million on their head, any player would be expected to do well.

He had performed at Ajax, but United fans will have wanted him to justify the hefty fee. Immediately, the Brazilian got fans on side, dropping some top performances.

Antony bagged a goal in each of his first three games, becoming the first man to do so for United in the Premier League.

While the goals have dried up since then, he has still been performing to a good standard. However, the winger has received some flak of late due to his showboating in United’s recent Europa League win.

Erik ten Hag’s side beat Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0, but most of the headlines were filled with criticism of Antony.

Indeed, in the first half, he performed his trademark spin move, before passing the ball out of play.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes was vocal in his aversion to the skill move, stating Antony needs it “knocking out of him”.

Fred defends Antony spin

United midfielder Fred has defended his teammate, believing being skilful is bred into him.

“I think it starts with us being Brazilians. Brazilians have quality in their blood. It’s always been that way since Pelé, to have quality, to dribble, to score, to dance, to smile. So I think people have to understand this aspect that we have,” he told ESPN.

“Dribbling, doing what he likes to do because he has the quality for it, so he has to keep doing it. Casemiro and I don’t have the quality for that, so we can’t do it. Leave it to Antony, to Neymar, to Vini, to those players in attack.

“I think those who have quality have to show it on the pitch there. If you want to control differently, you can control. You want to do a spin that he likes to do, you have to do it. Dance, you can dance. As long as it’s with respect to the opponent, obviously.”

Fred stressed that players should be free to express themselves if they are able to do so.

“Neymar sometimes does a rainbow flick, makes a dribble. As I said, I think you have to do it, you have the quality to do it, you can do it,” he added.

Fred hits back at pundits

Fred has also hit back at pundits who took issue to Antony’s skill.

“And I think people have to stop talking on television there, wanting to pull up a subject,” he said.

“But I think it’s very annoying that they want to say that. Them wanting to gloat over Brazil’s players.”

Indeed, this one harmless act on a football pitch has been blown out of proportion somewhat in the media. Players who have the quality to express themselves on the pitch should be free to do so, or there would be no joy in the sport.

While the particular skill might not have given Antony an advantage at that time, he has shown he is able to contribute to his team. Clearly, he is confident, and if showboating helps him to increase his confidence, that should not be seen as a bad thing.

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