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Erik ten Hag only has one answer to Man United’s latest Casemiro injury blow… and it’s risky



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Credit: Man Utd

Casemiro has suffered yet another injury setback which will keep him out of Manchester United’s squad against Fulham on the weekend.

The midfielder was replaced at half-time during United’s 3-0 loss against Newcastle on Wednesday, as the holders were knocked out in embarrassing fashion.

“He was injured,” said Erik ten Hag of the Brazilian midfielder in his post-match press conference. “Just before half time, that is why we have to take him off.

“I can’t give an answer [on the severity]; we have to wait 24 hours, but I think definitely for Saturday he is out.”

Casemiro missed out on the last three games for United through both injury and suspension.

Right now, whilst Ten Hag has numbers in the midfield. Many of those are not playing nearly well enough to justify starting.

Scott McTominay’s goal threat is perhaps his only strength and as a midfielder for a struggling side, you have to offer more in order to help the team find some sustainable form.

Meanwhile, all three of Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen are good options on paper but none have impressed when starting of late. Mount had a good period before the international break but did no favours for his form in the latest loss.

Sofyan Amrabat has been OK since joining the club but needs a player alongside him in the pivot and not someone absolved of defensive or progressive responsibility.

Hannibal Mejbri has offered energy and passion in the midfield when he has played. But his tenacious side has also shown negatives as shown against Newcastle, where he was close to receiving a red card in the first half and was unable to win multiple duels because he was on a booking from inside the first 15 minutes of the game.

The Tunisian also is unable to impose himself properly on games whilst in possession, which is no slight on the youngster playing his first games for the club.

Ten Hag has a selection issue and it all points to one outcome that should happen. Kobbie Mainoo should start.

Mainoo, 18, returned from injury recently and has played two games for the academy teams. He also starred in a behind-closed-doors friendly during the recent international break.

During his latest outing, the midfielder assisted twice for Travis Binnion’s under-21s side against League Two outfit Salford City. He also completed 90 minutes.

This writer has previously written about the risks of throwing Mainoo into the deep end at Old Trafford and the difficulties that come with the spotlight at the club. However, Ten Hag is now in a desperate moment and against Fulham, he must look for alternatives to find control in games and Mainoo could be just that.

With youngsters, you’re never entirely sure how they will adapt to first-team football and whilst Mainoo’s pre-season performances were promising, they are not comparable to what he would face in the Premier League.

Yet, the profile and freshness of his face in the United lineup could be one of the keys to a positive result and performance for Ten Hag and his team on Saturday.

But, it will be a risk. Whether the Dutch manager takes that risk is the big question.