Roy Keane praises Casemiro’s impact on Manchester United

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Roy Keane has hailed the impact Casemiro has made at Manchester United, describing the Brazilian midfielder as ‘a huge player who affects games’.

Casemiro joined United from Real Madrid in a £70 million transfer last summer and has made an immediate impact as Erik ten Hag rebuilds the club into a power.

After Casemiro received a one-game suspension, United appeared inferior in their 3-2 loss at table-toppers Arsenal on Sunday.

But he returned on Wednesday night to help Ten Hag’s team take a major step towards a Wembley final with a 3-0 success at Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg.

Speaking prior of the game, former Manchester United captain Keane lauded Casemiro’s abilities.

‘He’s a huge player for them. We obviously saw at the weekend when he wasn’t playing [how he was missed],’ Keane told Sky Sports.

‘He’s a big personality, has won the big trophies before. He affects games, is obviously very good defensively and pretty good on the ball, let me tell you.

‘Big strong boy, big personality – he makes the players around him better, that’s what great players do.

We’ve seen him thus far, and you’d assume when he first arrived at the club, he was a major signing with high expectations.

‘But he does the little things well, can see a pass, his awareness – it’s not only about winning the ball back, it’s about the next part, that bit of quality, that pass, the pace of it.

‘That’s what the best players do.’

Casemiro’s reputation was reinforced, according to Keane, by his absence in the defeat at the Emirates Stadium, where he received his fifth yellow card of the season.

Ten Hag brought in Scott McTominay to partner Christian Eriksen in the United midfield.

Keane added: ‘Sometimes you realise how good a player he is when he’s not in the team.

‘That’s what great players do, they affect games, they make things happen. They move it and I think when he came to United there was a lot of talk that he was very defensively-minded – which he is, he’s very good at that – but he’s very good at going forward.

‘He’s very good at making passes and he’s got a few goals which is a huge bonus.’

Casemiro has scored twice and contributed five assists since he swapped the Bernabeu for Old Trafford in August.

United moved to the cusp of the Carabao Cup final thanks to an outstanding solo goal by Marcus Rashford and further strikes by Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes.

The second leg will be played at Old Trafford on Tuesday next week, with United hosting Reading in the FA Cup fourth round this Saturday evening.

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