Casemiro

Casemiro has been named Manchester United’s Player of the Month for October, and in doing so, joins fellow summer arrivals Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen in claiming the prize, with the pair winning the accolade in August and September, respectively.

For several months, it appeared as though the Reds would struggle to sign their top transfer targets in the summer. Erik ten Hag, who arrived at Old Trafford from Ajax at the end of last season, came in with a plan and a list of players that he wanted to bring to the club. While there were undoubtedly players that the Reds simply couldn’t tempt to the club, such as Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, they still recruited smartly and that has been proven by the Player of the Month winners.

The winner in August, Martinez, endured a difficult start to life at United following his move to Manchester, but it didn’t take the Argentine too long to settle in and become a first-choice for the Reds. Despite struggling against Brentford in United’s 4-0 thrashing at the start of the campaign, the defender has grown in confidence and has quickly become a fan-favourite.

In contrast, Eriksen, who arrived at the club after an impressive stint with Brentford last term, hit the ground running and quickly asserted himself as a crucial player under Ten Hag. The Dane’s ability to dictate play and control possession was something that the Reds had been missing for a number of years. The 30-year-old was a worthy winner of the award in September, with fans understanding and appreciating what the former Tottenham man brings to the side.

Now, it is Casemiro’s turn to receive deserved praise for his showings throughout October, with the Brazilian midfielder delivering a number of accomplished performances after being gradually integrated into Ten Hag’s side throughout August and September. The five-time Champions League winner has now established himself within the starting XI.

He provided the assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner against Everton at Goodison Park, was named Man of the Match in the draw with Newcastle United and then scored a vital winner at Chelsea to secure a well-deserved point for the Reds. While he has been praised for his attacking output in recent weeks, it is his defensive ability that has impressed the United faithful. Not that it’s at all surprising, that is.

With several former players and pundits arguing that the Reds needed to strengthen in the attacking positions, and add a striker to their ranks, Ten Hag was under pressure to deliver with the squad he assembled this season. The Dutchman is still keen on recruiting a frontman, but for now at least, he is sticking with the squad who have performed well for him.

The impressive performances of Eriksen and Casemiro in the centre of the park can be somewhat judged by the lack of conversation about Frenkie de Jong in recent weeks. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Reds returned for the Dutchman, but the club’s new midfield pair have at least proven that he wasn’t vital in achieving success.

The three previous Player of the Month winners – who were all identified and signed by Ten Hag – have become important parts of the Reds’ squad this season. In many ways, they have become integral. Martinez has flourished as a leader at the back, Casemiro is demonstrating exactly why he was so successful with Madrid and Eriksen has shown why he is widely considered one of the best midfielders the Premier League has seen in recent years.

Although the players deserve credit for their showings, and subsequent awards, Ten Hag should also be praised for signing specific players for specific roles. United are certainly not the finished product, but the three summer arrivals have proven that the Dutchman deserves backing, and trusting.

 

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