Erik ten Hag warned Man Utd star will be targeted after ‘astonishing’ faux pas

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Casemiro and Marcus Rashford of Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Casemiro and Marcus Rashford of Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Graeme Souness believes a senior Man Utd player has made himself a target after an “astonishing” statistic came to light, with Erik ten Hag poised to be deprived of his star man ever more frequently.

The vast bulk of Ten Hag’s summer recruits have made instant impacts at Old Trafford. Tyrell Malacia has provided stiff competition for Luke Shaw at left-back, while Lisandro Martinez quickly struck up a fine centre-back pairing with Raphael Varane.

Further forward, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro formed a superb tandem in the engine room. However, an ankle injury sustained by Eriksen and ill discipline from Casemiro has prevented Ten Hag from fielding either player of late.

Casemiro picked up his second red card of the season one week ago when punished for a reckless challenge on Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz.

The Brazilian had not received a straight red card in his career before moving to Old Trafford. He’s now received two in seven months.

A four-match domestic ban was the result, with Casemiro serving the first game of his suspension in the FA Cup victory over Fulham on Sunday.

However, once he returns, pundit and Liverpool legend, Graeme Souness, believes Casemiro will be targeted by referees.

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Spotlight to shine on Man Utd destroyer

Souness – who knows a thing or two about red cards and dubious tackles – stressed he does not believe Casemiro is a dirty player.

However, he pointed to an “astonishing” lack of discipline when running the rule over his yellow card count over the last three-and-a-half seasons.

With Casemiro now picking up straight red cards too, Souness believes referees will pay far closer attention to the midfielder from here on out.

Being deprived of his midfield lynchpin through suspension more and more in the future is not a thought Ten Hag will wish to consider.

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Referees will ‘look out for Casemiro and not in a good way’ – Souness

“Casemiro at Manchester United is not a dirty player, either, but he does have a record,” Souness wrote for the Daily Mail.

“Consider this: in his last three-and-a-half seasons for Man Utd and Real Madrid, he has been booked 53 times!

“That is astonishing. He has also been sent off three times (in that span), his latest red coming against Southampton last weekend.

“As I say, I don’t think he is a malicious player, but over the course of his 10-year career he has averaged about 15 yellows a season and you don’t rack up numbers like those by accident.

“The upshot of his second red card for United in a short space of time is that when he returns from his four-game ban he will find referees looking out for him – and not in a good way.

“In football, a reputation as being someone who likes to play on the edge of the law can be hard to shake.”

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