Casemiro doing his best in unfamiliar role

Saturday 18 May 2024 09:00

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro accepts he is learning on the job by playing centre-back, but says he is happy to help the team out.

The five-time Champions League winner has been used at the heart of the back four by manager Erik ten Hag due to injuries that have ruled out a number of our central defenders in recent weeks.

Jonny Evans, Willy Kambwala, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, plus Luke Shaw, who can also operate in the middle, have all had spells out.

Evans has returned to the line-up and Martinez came off the bench against Newcastle United in midweek. With Lindelof and Varane back in training, Casemiro may be able to revert to midfield when Brighton & Hove Albion provide the opposition in our final Premier League game of the season on Sunday (16:00 BST)

It is a move he admits he would welcome, but the 32-year-old is keen to stress he is more than happy to play wherever needed.

Training highlights: Bring on Brighton Video

Training highlights: Bring on Brighton

Who can you spot back in training, during our latest first-team video from Carrington...?

"I mean I've done it probably two or three times, in my time at Real Madrid, playing centre-half," he told the international broadcasters. "But everyone knows that I am a central midfielder. It's not a role that I like to do but, you know what, I do it with the absolute best will in the world.

"As soon as the manager asks the question: 'Would you be able to play in that role?' Of course, I would. Absolutely. I do it to help the team, the manager, the clubs, the fans. That is what you do. And I do it, as I say, because I'm delighted to help out if I can.

"I know it's something which, you use the word 'adapted', and it's something that I've tried to do to help the side but, yeah, I'm a central midfield player. All my life, all my career. Obviously, that is where I prefer to play." 

Casemiro agrees that our season has been made difficult by the lack of continuity in the defence, with so many injuries affecting those who play in the middle.

"Obviously, I prefer to be further forward in midfield but, if the rest of the side was as per normal, it would be easier to slot in, I'm sure," he added. "But, as I repeat, I do it. I do it to help my team-mates.

"Everyone knows I'm not a centre-half. I'm a holding midfielder, that is what I've been all my life but my philosophy is you know when you're in a team, you do things to help that team and help your team-mates out. That's the key.

"There are different types of leaders. You know, there are leaders who show and lead by example. I guess that's maybe what I've been doing. Leading by example. I mentioned before that the manager asked me to fulfil that role in defence and I did it with great pleasure.

"You know there might be the odd error because I'm not a centre-half but it's still doing your best for my team-mates. I know they've been going all out and trying really hard to help me out there on the field in this new role."

Team news update: Brighton v United


The boss tells club media about his plans, while the Seagulls are without a key man.

Only two games now remain for the Reds: following the trip to Brighton, there is the matter of the Emirates FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.

The climax to the campaign is something that excites the experienced Brazilian, whether he is needed at the back or in midfield.

"The great thing about football, the beautiful thing about football, is that it's what next that counts," he reasoned. "We've got two lovely, beautiful games to come. The final match of the season to finish the league off in the good form to get a good result. And then we've got a chance to fight for a trophy at Wembley.

"It's been an interesting and exciting road to Wembley. We had the [Nottingham] Forest match, away there, and the amazing hard-fought game at home to Liverpool. Then we had that kind of crazy, mad semi-final against Coventry. So it's been an enjoyable path.

"The main thing now is to go into the final and enjoy that as well. Enjoy the game and enjoy the occasion."