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Erik ten Hag happy to have ‘very important’ Casemiro back in squad after injury break

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has heaped praise on ‘very important’ Casemiro ahead of the Premier League clash against Aston Villa later today.

The Red Devils are currently on a two-match winning run in the league and they have the opportunity to close the gap to the top four to six points with a victory at Villa Park.

Ahead of the game, Ten Hag was asked plenty of questions by reporters and one of those was focused on Casemiro and whether he is ‘very important’ to the team after his injury break.

In response, the Dutch tactician acknowledged that the Brazilian offers calmness and composure on the ball and also has the ability to provide progressive passes in the final third.

He added that Casemiro is a ‘very important’ player for the club and he is ‘happy’ to have him alongside Kobbie Mainoo, who will learn a lot working with the ex-Real Madrid star.

He told “Yeah, you can see it. He gives you calmness and composure on the ball, and he gives you options.”

“He does see the vertical pass so he’s always a step ahead of his opponent and can break lines. And then we talked just about the offensive [players] and what they need, how they have to serve.

“But then Casemiro is a very important player for our game. So yeah, happy he’s back and yeah, for Kobbie Mainoo he can learn a lot from it, that togetherness, that bond also.

“Kobbie is very coachable and Casemiro has so much experience and Kobbie will learn a lot from it. That can even accelerate his development, so yeah happy to have him and when they can play together, I think they can take benefit from each other.”

Casemiro has had a difficult second campaign with the Red Devils. He has been sidelined for several months due to injuries and only recently made his comeback from a hamstring issue.

He was far from his best against Newport County last month and also struggled for control versus Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, he looked much better in the West Ham United win.

The midfielder is finding his stride after a two-month injury lay-off. United fans will be hoping that he can replicate last season’s form as the club look to finish in the Champions League places.

Regardless of this, Casemiro could be heading for the exit door this summer with reports suggesting that the upcoming board are looking to reduce the club’s wage bill ahead of next season.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS believe future signings could ask for parity in wages and the club could be better off offloading some of the highest earners including Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.

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