Savage: Casemiro is most influential

Thursday 18 May 2023 09:00

BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage thinks Casemiro deserves to win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.

Voting for the prize, which is decided wholly by you, the fans, opened earlier this week.

The winner will be announced at the club’s awards evening, due to be held at Old Trafford on Monday 29 May.

We caught up with 'Sav', a former Red, in Seville last month and, despite mulling over several names who are in contention for the award, it’s Casemiro he feels is indispensable.

“You’re looking at the performances, who’s influenced the team the most?” he said.

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“Antony, in recent weeks, has come good. He’s adapted now to the Premier League and looks good.

“Casemiro, [Marcus] Rashford and [Lisandro] Martinez, those three, [David] De Gea has got the most clean sheets in the Premier League.

“The hardest thing to do is score goals and Rashford has been absolutely sensational. He’s got his confidence back and looks the player everybody thought he would be.”

The former Leicester City, Birmingham City and Derby County man has settled on a trio of names he thinks will head the polls, with Casemiro the one whose absence is felt most by United.

The Brazilian missed seven Premier League games through suspension earlier this year, with United losing two and drawing one to keep our post-Christmas title ambitions in check.

“[It’s] between Martinez, Casemiro and Rashford, those three,” he added.

“If I was saying right now: who would Manchester United miss the most for the longest period in the team, who affects the team the most? Is it Rashford or Casemiro or Martinez?

“I would probably think Casemiro because, when he’s not played or he’s played poorly, you look at the results. So I would say Casemiro.”

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As a former central midfielder himself, Savage is a good authority to ask about why Casemiro has been so impressive in red.

We all knew how effective the 31-year-old was as a defensive presence in the middle of the park, from his time at Real Madrid, but he's proved he has much more to his game during his first term in England.

“When you're listening to legends like Scholesy [Paul Scholes] and Owen [Hargreaves] speak about him, as a midfield player, I didn’t realise he has that much to his game: the passes round the corner, the goals.

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“When you’ve got [Luka] Modric and Toni Kroos in your team, you think he just gets it and gives it but I think he’s shown a lot more than that.

“I think he’s just been made the Brazilian captain as well so, again, Manchester United, to have the captain of Brazil playing in their team, is fantastic.

“So I think he’s been terrific and has offered a lot more than what people thought. You listen to ex-managers and ex-players saying they weren’t sure but I think he’s proved, even Casemiro the captain of Brazil, has proved people wrong in the Premier League.”

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