Manchester United midfielder Casemiro has shown Erik ten Hag what he can offer the Red Devils with a sumptuous assist for Brazil on international duty. The 30-year-old is yet to break into the first team at Old Trafford since his summer move from Real Madrid but has set about showing his new manager what he can do for his national team.
Hopes were high for Casemiro after his £60million move from Real in the summer however he has largely had to settle for a place on the bench after dropping behind Scott McTominay in the pecking order. The Brazilian was hugely successful during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming a crucial part of the Los Blancos team that went on to win five Champions League titles in his time at the club.
The partnership he struck up with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will be remembered as one of the greatest in football history but he moved on in August in search of a new challenge. Given the problems United were experiencing in midfield before his arrival, the expectation was that he would walk straight into the starting lineup – but it appears to have had a galvanising effect on the Scotsman, whose performances have been well worthy of his place in the eleven.
Now, he has used his game time on international duty to send a message to Ten Hag that he deserves more match action. His assist for Brazil’s opening goal of the game against Tunisia was stunning, floating a sumptuous through ball over the top for Barcelona winger Raphinha to head home.
The through ball highlights the range of skills that the former Porto man possesses, suggesting he can be a deep-lying playmaker at Old Trafford as well as a strong defensive presence. Ten Hag is known to favour players with immense technical ability, something Casemiro has now highlighted for Brazil.
The pass created the Selecao’s first goal of the game in what went on to be a comfortable 5-1 victory over their African opponents.
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has however backed Ten Hag’s decision to leave the Brazilian out of the first team for the time being given the performances of McTominay.
“In the last few games [McTominay has] kept Casemiro out of the team,” Murphy told talkSPORT.
“I know it’s a winning run so he’s keeping the team the same, but I think he’s been outstanding. His desire to get back into defensive positions and help his defence, the amount of crosses he heads out, the amount of blocks he makes and the amount of runners he tracks, talk about doing a job for the team.
“Talk about putting a shift in. If anyone wants to think negatively about him, go and watch United’s last three games and watch him.”
Despite the Scotland international’s good form, it is still widely expected Casemiro will eventually become a mainstay in the United first team. Should he show more of the same quality in a Red shirt that he did in the yellow of Brazil that time will not be far away.
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