Manchester United’s recent resurgence has been helped by the improving form of their young stars couple with the return from injury of key players.
Erik ten Hag clearly felt the absence of Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw at the back and Casemiro in the centre of the park.
Kobbie Mainoo is starting to boss the midfield but it would not have been possible without the Brazilian’s re-entry which has allowed the academy graduate to play further forward.
The 18-year-old was initially tasked with playing as the defensive midfielder during a period of crisis and he was impressive to say the least, but he is far more dangerous when playing further forward.
Casemiro is a natural in that position and Sofyan Amrabat has struggled to fill the void in his absence.
“You can see we missed over a long period very important players, like Casemiro, [Lisandro] Martínez, Luke Shaw and others.
“But you see the impact from a player when he is there, like Casemiro, he gives you calmness and composure on the ball, he gives you options.”
And the Dutch manager is delighted to have the former Real Madrid superstar back in the squad and feels Mainoo can learn a lot from the Brazil international.
“I am happy he (Casemiro) is back. For Kobbie, he can learn a lot from him. Kobbie is very coachable and Casemiro has so much experience, Kobbie will learn a lot from it and that will accelerate his development.
“I am happy to have him and when they play together they can benefit from each other,” the manager said during the pre-match press conference.
The former Ajax boss also revealed that both players have been spending time together both outside the pitch and during training to fine-tune their approach play.
Ten Hag has been enthused to see Casemiro trying to help his young teammate and the manager is hopeful of further improvement in the games to come.
“Casemiro takes that responsibility, he takes it to him, he’s talking to him. I see it in the dressing room, I see it on the pitch, on the training ground, in games. He is looking at his own game but he is looking to help and support Kobbie.”
United face fourth-placed Aston Villa on Sunday and they can reduce the gap between the teams to five points with a famous win. And the duo are expected to play a massive role if the Red Devils are to emerge triumphant.
The race for Champions League qualification is heating up and United cannot afford to drop further points if they are to have aspirations of climbing up the table.