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Casemiro believes modern football is all about the collective, rather than the individual, with defending starting from the front.



Casemiro believes modern football is all about the collective, rather than the individual, with defending starting from the front.

The Manchester United midfielder, fresh from an excellent debut season in England following last summer’s switch from Real Madrid, is keen to stress it is all about the team at Old Trafford, and not merely his contribution in the engine room.

Anchoring the side to great effect, he believes that everybody is responsible for keeping the opposition out and will be taking the same ethic into his country’s upcoming games.

The Selecao face Guinea today (Saturday), before meeting Senegal on Tuesday evening.

At the end of the day, we’re here to try and win the ball back,” he told us recently. “I think we’re always in and around defensive areas, and always aiming to help out our centre-backs and also David [De Gea] too, to try to prevent the ball getting through to him.

“But I’m fortunate too that my team-mates help me out and that I always get a hand from the other lads. It’s impossible to defend by yourself, so I can always count on help from our defenders.

“In Brazil, we always say that your first line of defence is your number nine, or your striker. In modern football, you defend with all 11 players, and you attack with all 11 too. That is how football is nowadays.

“It’s just impossible to defend or attack all by yourself. So, I always have to help out the other lads both in attack and also in defence.

Casemiro was similarly magnanimous when it came to discussing his goalscoring output, after netting seven times in his maiden campaign as a Red, including scoring in successive matches against Bournemouth and Chelsea towards the end of the term.

“I reckon it’s now the third season in my career where I’ve managed to score seven goals,” he explained. “I get the odd goal now and again but, of course, I’m not what you’d call a genuine goal scorer!

“Everyone likes to get on the scoresheet but a favourite phrase of mine is always that my ball-winning tackles are my goals. That’s what I really like doing and that’s when I’m at my happiest. When I’m winning the ball back, helping out my team-mates, getting my team-mates playing and moving the ball better, closing down space and then ensuring that we bring the ball out from the back with quality.

They are really my duties but, sure, everyone likes to score and create assists. We all like to but, in reality, my job and what I do on the pitch is something quite different, everybody knows that!”

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