Fred, Dani Alves, Gabigol return to Brazil squad for June World Cup qualifiers

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Brazil coach Tite has recalled Manchester United midfielder Fred as part of his squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay.

Fred, 28, returns to the Selecao after a two-and-a-half-year absence, and Tite said his "high-level" performances for United have earned him a place in his 24-man squad.

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A regular under United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Fred has earned 11 caps for Brazil. He last played for the national team in a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Oct. 2018.

"It's because of his performances," Tite said of Fred's return to the fold. "The high level that he has been showing at United, a team that is runner-up in the Premier League."

Fred, who has made 26 league starts for United, posted a message on Instagram that said: "Immense joy for returning to represent my country. Always proud to be selected. Let's go again!"

Among the other notable selections, Tite has handed Benfica centre-back Lucas Verissimo his first call-up. Sao Paulo full-back Dani Alves, 38, also returns to the group as does Flamengo's Gabriel Barbosa 'Gabigol' and Lyon's Lucas Paqueta.

Veteran Chelsea defender Thiago Silva, who has helped Chelsea reach the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29, has kept his place in the squad.

Tite said is not surprised by Silva's impressive form at 36.

"I don't like the word reinvent that much. I believe that people model themselves to different situations. Thiago has already been invented," Tite said. "He has a great professional capacity; he is a true athlete, just seeing the physical care he takes. His physical condition. The technical quality he has for a defender, his perceptions and that together with his conduct, allows him to play at this high level."

As for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who will lead Brazil's attack, Tite said: "Neymar is going to have the creative freedom for a player that is the bow and arrow, the creator and finisher. We want to maximise within the structure of the team all of his talent. He is going to play just as he has been playing for the national team, the same way he is playing for PSG."

Brazil have won all four of their World Cup qualifiers and lead the standings with 12 points.

The Canarinha take on Ecuador in Porto Alegre on June 4 and Paraguay in Asuncion four days later. Brazil begin the Copa America on June 14.

Brazil squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Weverton (Palmeiras), Ederson (Manchester City)

Defenders: Danilo (Juventus), Dani Alves (Sao Paolo), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Alex Sandro(Juventus), Lucas Verissimo (Benfica), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Gernaim), Militao (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Paqueta (Lyon), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Douglas Luiz(Aston Villa), Ribeiro (Flamengo)

Forwards: Richarlison (Everton), Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (PSG), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Everton Cebolinha (Benfica), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)