Roy Keane described Casemiro as a “huge signing” for Manchester United after the Brazilian scored two excellent goals to help his side into the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-1 win over Reading at Old Trafford.
The midfielder was suspended for United’s defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League last Sunday but returned to the fold in style with his second and third goals for the club and a superb all-round performance.
When he was subbed off with 17 minutes to play, he received a standing ovation from the United supporters who have taken him to their hearts, and former United midfielder Keane says the 30-year-old has the “personality” and “presence” required to be a leader for the Reds in the middle of the park.
“He’s been a huge signing,” Keane told ITV. “Over the last few years for Man Utd, particularly in the middle of the park, they’ve lacked a quality player with a big personality, a guy with a bit of presence.
“He’s a top-quality player. We see it week in, week out. He affects games.”
Casemiro has seven goal contributions in his past nine appearances for United and, after making his name as the lynchpin in Real Madrid’s midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, he appears to be relishing his opportunity to get further forwards at times under Erik ten Hag.
“Before he came there was this perception he’s a sitting midfielder because of working with different players at Real Madrid, players who are more attack-minded,” said Keane. “But we’re now seeing over the last few months he’s got so much quality going forward in terms of the final pass and he’s getting goals, as well as being very, very good defensively.
“A huge signing for Man Utd and a big personality, which Man Utd needed.”
Club captain Harry Maguire described his team-mate as “a phenomenal player” who has “improved the team, improved the morale, improved the performance”, while Ten Hag explained how Casemiro helps United to execute their tactical approach with the ball.
“We know he’s a great player,” Ten Hag told ITV. “In that midfield in Madrid, with Kroos and Modric, it was great.
“We see offensively he has a part [to play]. What I like is dynamic football with variations, with many position switches. We have to [make] the opponent think so we can take benefit of it.”
Manchester United‘s next game is their Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg at home to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
Wednesday 1st February 7:30pm
Kick off 8:00pm
Erik ten Hag’s side then host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.