When Ryan Fredericks joined Fulham there was a huge debate as to whether he was a midfielder or a defender. He made his first appearance for Fulham coming off the bench on the right hand side of midfield, before going on a bizarre run across the course of the season which saw him play 15 times in midfield and 17 times in defence, in no particular order.
However, under Slavisa Jokanovic, Fredericks would take the number two shirt, and make the right back spot his own. He’s not a player with numerous facets to his game, but Freddo is absolutely scorched-turf rapid.
What you’ll see a lot of is him squaring a full-back up and then knocking it past his opponent on the outside and getting round him. It’s not clever, but it’s effective, because there are very few who can keep up with his initial acceleration burst.
Early in his career, Jokanovic noticed that Fredericks’ crossing left a bit to be desired, and so what we’ve seen is him drilling low balls into the box from the byline. Aleksandar Mitrovic benefitted immensely from the service, and a poacher in the mould of Chicharito should be licking his lips at the prospect, especially late on in games.
His nine assists last season are testament to an improved final ball and his ability to get it into dangerous areas on a regular basis. In that respect, another element that has developed in Fredericks’ overall game is his stamina.
At first in black and white, he’d look absolutely shattered 60 minutes into any given game, because of the nature of the way he played, but this has improved vastly. It’s not often that a profile of a defender goes on for so long without mentioning defending, but in this case it’s not that strange. The truth of the matter is that we haven’t really seen Fredericks do that much of it.
He’s a more than capable defender, using his speed to cover for others on numerous occasions, but he’s also occasionally slow at getting out to a winger to block an incoming cross. There are question marks over whether he’ll be found out in this regard at Premier League level, but his tenacious nature should allow him to compete with most wingers, and his pace will be a real asset.
The vast majority of the Fulham fanbase were sad to see Fredericks leave. West Ham have got themselves a pace merchant with an eye for an attacking move, and if he’s given the freedom of the flank and the support of his manager, I have no doubt he’ll thrive in east London.