Manchester United star Casemiro admitted that he is not too enthusiastic about playing as a central defender because he prefers to be in the middle of the park, where he is most comfortable.

In recent games amid United’s injury crisis in the defensive department, Erik ten Hag has been forced to deploy Casemiro as a makeshift centre-back.

It is a position in which the Brazilian has struggled. He was badly exposed in the 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and was probably to blame for at least three of the four goals conceded.

A few days later, Casemiro found himself on the wrong side again, this time against Arsenal at Old Trafford. His failure to get up the pitch quickly led to Arsenal’s only goal of the game, which ultimately proved to be enough for the Gunners as they took all three points.

Casemiro, however, was not helped by the fact that his partners in the heart of United’s line were changing. He initially played with Harry Maguire, but when the Englishman was also sidelined with a physical failure, the five-time Champions League was then paired with a semi-fit Jonny Evans.

The 32-year-old spoke to the club’s media and admitted that while he is struggling at centre-back, he is still more than happy to play in any position he is required to.

“I mean, I did it probably two or three times when I was at Real Madrid, playing centre-half. But everyone knows I’m a central midfielder. It’s not a role I like to do, but, you know what, I do it with the absolute best will in the world.”

“As soon as the manager asks, ‘Could you play in that role?’ Of course I would. Absolutely. I do it to help the team, the manager, the clubs, the fans. That’s what you do. And I do it, as I said, because I’m happy to help if I can.”

“I know it’s something that, you use the word ‘adjusted’, and it’s something I’ve tried to do to help the side, but, yes, I’m a central midfielder. Whole life, whole career. Obviously, that’s where I prefer to play.”

He added: “Obviously, I prefer to be more forward in midfield, but if the rest of the squad was normal, it would be easier to slot in, I’m sure. But, as I say, I do it. I do it to help my teammates.”

“Everyone knows I’m not a center half. I’m a midfielder, I’ve been all my life, but my philosophy is that you know when you’re in a team, you do things to help that team and help your teammates. That’s the key.”

He explained that his leadership style is based on leading by example and that this is also something Ten Haag asked him to demonstrate.

Casemiro expressed his gratitude to his teammates for protecting him on the pitch and helping him adapt as a centre-back.

The positive news for him is that Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof are back in training – a factor that could see Casemiro return to midfield for the games against Brighton and then the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

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