The arrival of a new manager at a club always opens the door for players to prove themselves and justify why they deserve to be in the starting line-up.
As surprising as that is, on the basis of Manchester United’s last four matches, it is fair to say that the Brazilian midfielder has been the team’s best player.
Fred is Manchester United’s most improved player
The whole team may have been under-par during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final weeks, but Fred was a rare shining light during Michael Carrick’s interim spell in charge.
The 28-year-old has usually alternated between good and decent, but his inconsistency and lack of concentration made him a target of criticism. However, he has been completely reborn in the last few weeks.
Fred was sublime in Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Villarreal, a result that sealed the Red Devils’ qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League. He again played a key role in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea before putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-2 win over Arsenal.
Fred then scored the winner in Rangnick’s first game in charge, curling the ball in from outside the box against Crystal Palace last week.
Rangnick is still assessing his players, but it’s clear that Fred has made an impression. He stands as the Red Devils’ most improved player in the last month.
Fred could become a mainstay under Ralf Rangnick
Fred’s form suggests he could become a mainstay in Ralf Rangnick’s team. The midfielder is a hard worker, and his energy fits into the manager’s ideal style.
The Brazil international is also very good at pressing. He is actually the only midfielder at Manchester United who has the ability to break the lines and start an attack.
Nemanja Matic is currently in the twilight of his career, Paul Pogba is out injured and Scott McTominay also has his deficiencies. Meanwhile, Donny van de Beek did not take his chance when he started against Young Boys on Wednesday.
This leaves Fred as the midfielder to have impressed most under Rangnick, and it’s difficult to see the manager dropping him from the starting line-up.
Should things continue this way, there is no doubt that Fred will be one of the first names on Rangnick's team sheet.