Casemiro speaks out on position change after torrid spell at centre-back

  • Casemiro has struggled at centre-back during final weeks of the season
  • Brazilian midfielder has had to fill in due to injuries to Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof
  • Made notable errors during 4-0 Crystal Palace defeat and 1-0 loss to Arsenal
Casemiro has had a tough season at Old Trafford
Casemiro has had a tough season at Old Trafford / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Casemiro has admitted he is prone to making the odd mistake playing at centre-back after filling in for injury-stricken Manchester United during the late stages of the season.

Erik ten Hag's options in central defence have been decimated towards the end of the campaign, leaving Casemiro to slot in with increasingly worrying results in recent weeks.

The Brazilian was awful alongside a half-fit Jonny Evans in the 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and gave away the match-winner with his errant positioning during the 1-0 loss to Arsenal.

He provided a more combative performance in the 3-2 win over Newcastle United in midweek and revealed he is doing his best in an unfamiliar role.

He said: "I mean I've done it probably two or three times, in my time at Real Madrid, playing centre-half. 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."

Injuries of varying degrees to Evans, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof have left Ten Hag with little choice but to pick Casemiro at the back but the former Real Madrid midfielder reiterated he is happy to do what is needed for the greater good of United.

Casemiro, Jonny Evans
Casemiro has partnered Evans at the back in recent weeks / Stu Forster/GettyImages

He added: "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. 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."

Casemiro has been tipped to leave United this summer, with suitors from Saudi Arabia showing a strong interest in taking him to the Middle East.

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