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I saw Man Utd 'phenomenon' silence his biggest doubter against Newcastle, Peter Schmeichel hushed too - opinion

I was at Old Trafford as Manchester United beat Newcastle United 3-2, and I was impressed by what I saw on the last home game of the season.

The feeling around the ground was clear before kick-off. A rather quiet Old Trafford seemed fearful for what may lie ahead against Eddie Howe’s side.

After a sea of bad performances, in particular, a drab one against Arsenal just a few days prior, the Red Devils came out fighting – which ultimately led to the victory.

I thought a few players were impressive. Amad Diallo and Sofyan Amrabat were my two standouts, which I think warrants a place in the starting XI for the FA Cup Final.

But one player who I also think deserves recognition is a man who’s got a lot of stick lately. Casemiro put in a mightily solid shift after a string of bad ones.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty ImagesCasemiro deserves credit

After yet another injury crisis left Manchester United with no other fit centre-backs other than Jonny Evans, usual midfielder Casemiro was forced into playing at centre-half.

It’s safe to say the Crystal Palace game was his worst in a Manchester United shirt, then the mistake against Arsenal did him no favours. He needed a big game against Newcastle, and he did just that.

He was calm, assured and led from the back against the Geordies. Despite the lack of pace next to Evans, the pair defended as a unit and ultimately kept one of the Premier League’s finest strikers Alexander Isak mightily quiet.

This deserves recognition, considering some of the flack he’s taken from pundits over his rough patch.

Casemiro proves Jamie Carragher and Peter Schmeichel wrong

Sky Sports pundit and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has been by far and away Casemiro’s biggest doubter over recent weeks.

He ripped into him after the Palace game: “Casemiro should know tonight [after the 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace] as an experienced player that he should only have another three games left at the top level – the next two [Premier] league games and the [FA] cup final – then he should be thinking, ‘I need to go to the MLS or Saudi’. I’m deadly serious – his agent, the team of people around him, they need to tell him: ‘This has to stop’.”

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel also had his reservations, particularly with the Brazilian playing centre-back.

He said: “Casemiro can’t play centre-back, he was exposed on Monday night so why don’t you put a proper centre-half like Willy Kambwala in there rather than on the bench? Casemiro’s performance at centre-half on Monday night really makes me nervous.”

There was nothing nervy about his performance on Wednesday. Well in, Case.

Casemiro’s Old Trafford goodbye?

Despite the fact he did play well, you can’t help but think alongside confirmed departing stars Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial, this was also Casemiro’s farewell to Old Trafford.

He took to Instagram after the game to thank fans, stating: ‘Last match of the season at Old Trafford and the fight continues … Come on United !!!!’

Club captain Bruno Fernandes and Ceará Sporting Club goalkeeper Richard Goleiro were among the comments, with the latter calling him a ‘phenomenon’.

Whatever happens with Casemiro this summer, it has been a pleasure having the footballing legend around Carrington, even for a short while.

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