Manchester United manager Ten Hag explains what Christian Eriksen and Casemiro will offer ahead of returns

April 8, 2023

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has heralded the imminent return of the “valuable” midfielders Christian Eriksen and Casemiro.

Eriksen is set to be included in the matchday squad against Everton on Saturday for the first time since he sustained an ankle injury on January 28 while Casemiro will serve the final game of his four-match ban.

Casemiro and Eriksen both joined United in the summer and have started 18 matches together. United have only lost once in the Premier League with the duo in the starting XI.

“He is always composed on the ball and you can always find him,” Ten Hag said of Eriksen. “In the progress of the game, he has key actions and key passes, the final pass. That brings a lot to the team.

“It is obvious and clear they are two very valuable players for us. We all know how important the midfield department is and what we had to do over several games was find a new balance and that is not easy at this stage of the season.

“It sometimes also can be trial and error, bringing new players in and bringing players into a different position. That is what we did.

“But against Brentford, I was very pleased with the performance from the midfield because I think we played very well there, the three cooperating together, and they did a magnificent job. I think they can progress.”

Casemiro’s only appearance since his dismissal against Southampton four weeks ago was in the Europa League round-of-16 second leg win against Real Betis but the 30-year-old played and scored for Brazil in their friendly defeat to Morocco.

The visit of Everton will mark United’s third domestic fixture in six days and that condensed period has hastened Casemiro’s domestic return.

“It is not an advantage for players like Casemiro because he needs the rhythm from training and games, so he misses that,” Ten Hag added. But luckily he played for Brazil versus Morocco. We are lucky we played three games in six days, so he has not missed that much.”

Casemiro has served three suspensions this season, the first for accumulating five yellow cards. Ten Hag remains adamant Casemiro’s expulsions against Crystal Palace and Southampton were unwarranted. “I trust the refs. But for me, both were definitely not red cards.

Everyone who knows football, when you play at the top level, you know it is not a red card because you can send off players in every game in the Premier League.”

Ten Hag refused to specify the injury that will prevent Luke Shaw from featuring against Everton but suggested his absence would not be a matter of weeks. “It is personal. I don’t think at this moment (he will be out for weeks), but we have to see how he progresses. I think he can be quietly quickly back.

“You have to see over days how it progresses. Sometimes you underestimate this injury, but I think Luke did quite well and knows his body. He went off at the right moment before getting more damage.