Roy Keane: I’d play a reserve or youth team player ahead of Casemiro

Casemiro of Manchester United looks on during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on November 01, 2023 in Manchester, England. 

Roy Keane and Casemiro: "If there was one player I wouldn’t play at centre-half against Crystal Palace, he’d be the one I wouldn’t play."

Roy Keane says under-pressure Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag should have played anyone else but Casemiro at centre half against Crystal Palace this week.

United were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by the Eagles at Selhurst Park on Monday night with the Brazilian midfielder enduring a torrid evening in the unfamiliar central defensive position.

“Casemiro is the last player you’d want to play at centre-half against [Crystal] Palace, in his defence," Keane said on the Stick To Football podcast. 

"Some players have all the experience, but they don’t show it at certain times. But look at the whole Manchester United squad, if you’re telling me one player I wouldn’t play at centre-half against Palace, who have something going at home, they scored five against West Ham recently, they’ve beaten Newcastle and they even scored two against City – it would not be Casemiro against them.

“I would play anyone else at centre back than Casemiro. When you get to 31 and 32, every time you have a really bad game, it becomes a shocker. I had people tell me that I was finished at that level, but players can get through it if they play in their best position. I looked at Casemiro the other night [against Crystal Palace] and he was having a bad time, but he wasn’t getting any help from the other players. If your legs are going a bit, you get people around you [to help] and that’s where he should’ve done better with his experience.

“But defensively, he got no help from anyone whatsoever. Defensively they were all over the place!”

The former Old Trafford skipper continued: “Crystal Palace were really at it [against Manchester United] and everyone would look at it and think Palace away on a Monday night is going to be a tough night and Casemiro was isolated. He was isolated by his own fault, because he wasn’t getting people around him, and you have to take responsibility for that.

“But if we’re talking about it being a team game, structure-this and structure-that, playing between the lines, that’s all well and good but when you’re up against it, you need your teammates around you. There’s the whole idea of playing in a team.

“Of all the players at Manchester United, including the reserves and youth team, if there was one player I wouldn’t play at centre-half against Crystal Palace, he’d be the one I wouldn’t play. Aaron Wan-Bissaka or someone else!”

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