Noel Whelan believes summer signing Casemiro could be in line to make his first Premier League start for Manchester United against bitter rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
The experienced Brazil international has only been used as a substitute for domestic duty so far but is well used to playing in huge games from his time at Real Madrid and with Brazil.
United forked out £70million to bring the 30-year-old to Old Trafford. However, his only start for the club so far was in their Europa League group opener against Real Sociedad.
And when asked if Casemiro should be trusted to feature in the XI against City, Whelan has arguments for and against.
He told Football Insider: “Yes and no.
“Coming into a Manchester derby where we know the stakes are high and there’s a lot of pressure and emotions that come along with that derby as well.
“Right now Man United and Erik ten Hag are probably thinking there’s two ways to look at it.
“Yes he’s played in massive games against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and he can handle these occasions. He seems to have a level head but sometimes these sorts of games can do crazy things to you if you’re new to a football club and you’re out there to try and impress the fans.
“When you’re playing against a quality side and you’ve spent so much money on a player to come in and do a job and strengthen the side then you’ve got to realise there’s no wrong time or right time to throw him in.
“It would be a really good match-up to see him out there. I think that’s what Man United fans probably want to see out there as well.”
Casemiro facing battle to displace McTominay, Eriksen
Casemiro has so far been unable to break up the impressive partnership of Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen.
And former Old Trafford favourite Michael Carrick is not surprised to see Eriksen’s quality shining through.
He said: “I played against him a lot and I watched him a lot. I like him a lot. He’s a fantastic footballer. He’s clever, he’s smart.
“It almost doesn’t matter what position he plays. He can adapt. He’s just a clever, intelligent footballer with great quality.
“I was pleased when we signed him, and he’s not surprised me one bit. He’s a top player.”
Another United legend Paul Scholes agrees, calling Eriksen a ‘perfect’ example of an intelligent operator.
“Intelligence, clever players with a brain,” said Scholes. “[Eriksen] is a perfect example of a player who plays with intelligence.
“He’s a clever player, he knows where he is on the pitch and knows where others are on the pitch.”
Eriksen and McTominay are both likely to start Sunday’s clash with City, to the disappointment of Casemiro. Unless Erik ten Hag favours playing a three-man midfield to stifle Pep Guardiola’s men.
However, that would potentially mean leaving out Bruno Fernandes, if the Dutchman still wants to play three up front.
Victory for United on Sunday would see them climb to within two points of City.