Ten Hag could finally end Man Utd’s Casemiro experiment by unleashing teen wonderkid – opinion

By this time last year, in Erik ten Hag’s inaugural season, Manchester United had already guaranteed a Champions League position.

But fast-forward to today, when Newcastle United and the Red Devils square off for a berth in the UEFA Conference League at Old Trafford.

But, following United’s crushing 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace and their 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday, it’s possible that this campaign could end with no trips to Europe.

In light of this, let’s examine potential additions to the starting lineup who could strengthen the defense and eventually take Casemiro’s place.

Why Casemiro must not start at centre-back 

Ten Hag had to make the bold choice to start Casemiro at center back because to the injury problem that has beset the Man United defense.

The Brazilian played defense in every FA Cup match after making his debut in that position in a 3-3 tie with Coventry City.

But the defensive midfielder by trade has drawn a lot of flak for his performances against Arsenal and Palace; following the match at Selhurst Park, creative Liam Canning called Casemiro “beyond embarrassing.”

The 32-year-old was dribbled past seven times and contributed to three of the Eagles’ goals during that loss. Furthermore, he failed to comprehend his duty as he played Kai Havertz miles onside, which led to the Gunners’ goal over the weekend.

It’s obvious that Ten Hag needs to start a real center half against the Magpies, and fortunately, one is on the verge of breaking out.

The player to replace Casemiro 

This season, Willy Kambwala has played a lot more football with the first team than he would have thought at the beginning of the season.

The 19-year-old defender has made eight appearances for the Red Devils in the Premier League, making three starts. The most recent of those appearances was a 2-2 tie with Liverpool.

After spending a brief period of time off the field, Kambwala made his comeback to the field over the weekend. He replaced Jonny Evans in the 75th minute and made one tackle while winning every duels.

Before the game, though, there were calls for the French ace to start ahead of Casemiro. United great Peter Schmeichel even said:

“Casemiro can’t play centre-back, he was exposed on Monday night so why don’t you put a proper centre-half like Willy Kambwala in there rather than on the bench?”

Kambwala & Maguire vs Liverpool
Stats Kambwala Maguire
Clearances 2 8
Interceptions 2 1
Dribbled past 0 0
Touches 46 77
Pass accuracy 81% 72%
Duels won 3/4 10/13
Possession lost 8 17
Via Sofascore
Despite the fact that Kambwala is now the only center-back available, he has shown that he is capable of holding his own when necessary.

That was made clear by his performance versus Liverpool, where he also demonstrated his wide range of skills, including technical aptitude and self-assurance, as evidenced by his touches, pass accuracy, and turnovers.

The 6-foot-3 defender’s physicality and willingness to close the distance with the opposing striker heighten Ten Hag’s team’s energy.

However, what may prove vital against Newcastle and Alexander Isak in particular is Kambwala’s excellent athleticism and turn of pace, which were on display in a race against Darwin Nunez during the 2-2 draw.

Overall, there’s no benefit to fielding Casemiro in the team over Kambwala, and given that he’s always impressed when playing, the youngster simply has to start today.

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