Ten Hag has rogue Casemiro solution for Leeds as star given new role
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reviews the Crystal Palace game
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Erik ten Hag may have already revealed a left-field solution for Casemiro’s upcoming absence after receiving the first red card of his career against Crystal Palace. The Brazil midfielder will miss Manchester United’s next three domestic games in a crunch Premier League period.
United were cruising toward victory at Old Trafford on Saturday before referee Andre Marriner showed Casemiro red for seemingly grabbing Will Hughes by the throat.
After a mass brawl between the hosts’ and Palace’s players, VAR called him over to the pitchside monitor and presented a camera angle that made it look like the 30-year-old had a hold of Hughes’ neck.
United may appeal the decision after other angles showed Casemiro grabbing his shirt and the pair laughing it off moments after.
But in doing so, the Red Devils risk his suspension extending to four games and, thereby, the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United.
But as it stands, Ten Hag will be without the heart of his in-form side for the double-header against Leeds United this week and Leicester City’s visit next weekend.
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And with Christian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay also absent through injury, he faces a dilemma in midfield.
Fred is a surefire starter, but Marcel Sabitzer has only just arrived through the door and was loaned to replace Eriksen’s role rather than Casemiro’s.
If Ten Hag wants a more defensive-minded player next to Fred or Sabitzer against Leeds, he may have also hinted at a potential option.
Last Wednesday, the Dutchman brought Victor Lindelof onto the pitch when he substituted Casemiro in the closing stages of United’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest.
After full-time, he acknowledged that Lindelof started his career as a holding midfielder and explained he wants his centre-backs to fill in midfield areas when needed.
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Ten Hag said: “Lindelof was educated as a six, as a controlling holding midfielder at Benfica, so I know he can do that, and we already tried it before in training and maybe in one game.
“But also, there, I also want my centre-halves sometimes playing in midfield positions so that we create different dynamics. So it’s just to construct more dynamic in the team.”
Lisandro Martinez also played in midfield on occasions under Ten Hag at Ajax and will be in contention as another option.
But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lindelof start ahead of the centre-back pairing when Leeds visit M16 on Wednesday.
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