Manchester United midfielder Casemiro captains the team in their Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Newcastle United, with manager Erik ten Hag declaring that the Brazilian has already proven himself to be a leader.
Ten Hag made seven changes to the team that started Sunday’s disastrous Manchester derby at Old Trafford, opting to hand starts to the likes of Anthony Martial, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, Hannibal Mejbri and Mason Mount as Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Hojlund, Christian Eriksen and others drop out. There is also a welcome return to the lineup for left-back Sergio Reguilon.
Speaking prior to kick-off, the boss seemed to deny the mass changes were anything to do with Sunday’s result. For reference, Newcastle made even more changes (nine) from the weekend.
“We have a strong squad, so we can make choices and today we have a strong team and we have to get to the next round,” Ten Hag told MUTV.
“I don’t know if [rest] is really needed because the are fit,” he said of Rashford and Fernandes in particular starting on the bench. “Of course, to keep them fresh all through the season, but also to give other players opportunity to give a performance because they are giving everything – they are always supporting the team. In training, they perform and they deserve a place in the team.”
For Casemiro, who many fans had predicted might become new club captain during the summer before the armband went permanently to Fernandes, it is a first time leading the team out.
The 31-year-old was made Brazil captain earlier this year and Ten Hag described him as the “perfect” choice to skipper United for the evening in Fernandes’ absence.
“He has always shown [he is a leader] in every training [session], every game. I think he’s a perfect one to wear the armband,” Ten Hag explained.