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"It's not a role that I like" - Manchester United star admits to positional struggles

© Reuters
Manchester United midfielder Casemiro admits that he has struggled to adapt to playing in the middle of the team's defence.

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro has admitted that he has struggled to adapt to playing in the middle of the team's defence.

The Red Devils have had defensive problems throughout the 2023-24 campaign, and the Brazilian has recently been pressed into action in the middle of the back four.

Casemiro has featured as a centre-back in his side's last five Premier League matches, but his performances have been widely criticised.

The 32-year-old has insisted that he will always play where the team needs him, but he admitted that it has been difficult operating in the unfamiliar position.

"I mean I've done it probably two or three times, in my time at Real Madrid, playing centre-half," Man United's official website quoted him as saying. "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.

Manchester United's Casemiro reacts on May 12, 2024© Reuters

Casemiro admits to positional problems

"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.

"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 teammates.

"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 teammates 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 teammates. I know they've been going all out and trying really hard to help me out there on the field in this new role."

Manchester United's Casemiro looks dejected after the match on May 6, 2024© Reuters

Casemiro could be entering latter stages of Man United career

Casemiro is expected to feature in Man United's final two matches of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League and Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

However, there is widespread speculation surrounding his future beyond the end of the campaign, with the defensive midfielder thought to be attracting interest from the Saudi Pro League.

"The great thing about football, the beautiful thing about football, is that it's what next that counts. We've got two lovely, beautiful games to come. The final match of the season to finish the league off in the good form to get a good result. And then we've got a chance to fight for a trophy at Wembley," he added.

"It's been an interesting and exciting road to Wembley. We had the [Nottingham] Forest match, away there, and the amazing hard-fought game at home to Liverpool.

"Then we had that kind of crazy, mad semi-final against Coventry. So it's been an enjoyable path. The main thing now is to go into the final and enjoy that as well. Enjoy the game and enjoy the occasion."

Casemiro could find himself back in midfield against Brighton, as Lisandro Martinez and Willy Kambwala are now back to fitness, while Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof could also return to the squad on Sunday.

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