Shaw: Why Casemiro is so important for us

Wednesday 15 February 2023 19:23

Luke Shaw believes Casemiro's availability is a huge boost for Manchester United as the Reds head into a Europa League play-off first leg against Barcelona.

The England full-back admits the Brazil midfielder has been "a big miss" in the three Premier League games he has been suspended for - Arsenal away, after an accumulation of yellow cards led to a one-match ban, and then the home and away clashes with Leeds United which resulted in a thrilling 2-2 draw and a hard-fought 2-0 away win.

For his red card against Crystal Palace, Casemiro will have to sit out a third and final domestic fixture when Leicester City visit Old Trafford in the top flight on Sunday but in the meantime, he's eligible for European competitions and is therefore able to play at the Nou Camp - a formidable venue he visited 10 times as a Real Madrid player.

Ten Hag and Shaw's pre-Barcelona press conference Video

Ten Hag and Shaw's pre-Barcelona press conference

Press conference | Erik and Luke discuss Barcelona's threats, plus Johan Cruyff, ahead of our Europa League clash...

"I think it's been quite obvious to see how important he is to the team when he's not been playing," said Shaw, during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday evening.

"For us as defenders, he gives us that feeling that we know there's a lot of security, especially because of his positioning, where he always is.

"He loves to win the ball back and tackle. We always say to him that he likes to give the ball away so he can go and win it back!

"I think he's an extremely important player for us and I'm very happy to have him back tomorrow night because, like I said, he's been a big miss for us."
Casemiro joined United from Real Madrid on 22 August 2022, by which time Shaw and his team-mates had lost the first two games of this season - to Brighton and Hove Albion at home and then Brentford away.

Since then, the Reds have lost only four of the subsequent 34 matches in all competitions. So how does Shaw feel he compares to the player he was back then, and how much of that improvement is down to Erik ten Hag's management?

"I think obviously not just myself but I think the team in the first two games was nowhere near where we should have been at," answered the defender.

"It was obviously a very difficult start but I think we've learned from that and we've grown as a team, not just as individuals, but as a team.

"I think now collectively it's showing in our performances and where we're going. Of course, it helps with the manager, he's been really good and has shown a lot of trust in me. My main thing now is to repay that trust with good performances and to help the team as much as possible."

Team news: Erik's update on absent trio


The boss gives us the latest on three players missing from the Barcelona trip.

Shaw was also asked at the press conference whether we'll see him playing against Barcelona as a centre-back, where Ten Hag has deployed him successfully in some big games, or in his customary left-back berth, from where he assisted Marcus Rashford's headed opener at Leeds on Sunday with a sublime cross.

"To be honest, I'm not too sure yet," replied Luke. "We'll have to wait until tomorrow when he names the team, so I'll find out then."

Wherever he features, the Reds' versatile no.23 agrees with a reporter's point that La Liga leaders Barcelona will provide "an acid test" of United's development as a team this term.

"It's obviously a very big game, it's one we're all looking forward to. And yes, it's going to be a big test, it will show us where we are. But I think where we are at the moment, we're ready for it."