Kieran Trippier has shocked Manchester United fans by claiming that England teammate Declan Rice is a better player than Casemiro.
The Newcastle United full back was speaking on Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five podcast and was effusive in his praise for West Ham’s captain.
“I don’t know if you watched the game the other day when we played West Ham, but just his intelligence, the way he breaks up play and how he travels with it, and how powerful he is.
“Unbelievable, probably one of the best in the world at what he does.”
Asked whether he thought Rice was better than Casemiro, he curtly replied, “Yeah,” to a few chuckles from group.
“As defenders like me or yourself, you appreciate a Michael Carrick, or what Declan does,” Trippier eventually explained.
“So it makes your job easier when they’re just mopping everything up.
“Don’t get me wrong, Casemiro, the trophies he’s won, the Champions Leagues, he’s a world-class player, but if you’re talking right now, Decs is incredible.”
Declan Rice is undoubtedly a fantastic player and one who Man United did consider signing last summer, although the £100m price tag set by the Hammers saw that interest put on hold.
But the instant impact of Casemiro has left those at Old Trafford certain that their choice ended up being the right one.
That is without mention of the Brazilian’s excellent performances on the highest of stages of a decade in La Liga, Champions League, and now Premier League football.
It is also notable that Rice typically plays alongside ‘number eight’ style midfielders, such as Thomas Soucek at club level, or both Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham at international level.
Most midfields are similarly composed, of course, which only goes to make Casemiro’s ability to hold up the defensive end of a midfield with extremely offensive players ahead of him all the more impressive.
In Madrid, he carried the can for Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, two players far more interested in the ‘on the ball’ side of the game.
Now at United, he had regularly locked down the midfield with Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen – bona fide number tens.
One wonders how Kieran Trippier will feel about Casemiro after the Carabao Cup final.
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