Man Utd star Andre Onana offers to play striker and gives verdict on Casemiro in defence

Andre Onana claims Man Utd cannot use injuries as an ‘excuse’ (Image: Getty)

Andre Onana claims he would ditch his goalkeeper gloves and play up front if required, with several Manchester United stars forced to play out of position in 2023/24 due to the injury issues which crippled Erik ten Hag’s squad. Casemiro was among those asked to play an unfamiliar role, and his handful of performances at centre-back were less than convincing.

Tyrell Malacia, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount all finished the season in the Man Utd treatment room, while plenty of other key stars spent large portions of the campaign sidelined.

Goalkeeper Onana, who has settled in impressively since making a shaky start to his United career, believes that a lack of continuity in Ten Hag’s starting line-ups is making life difficult for the players.

“I think that’s an issue for the whole team – the manager, the staff and the medical team,” Onana told The Overlap. “What we are facing, it’s not nice for all of us, but we are Manchester United, we cannot use this as an excuse – so we have to deal with the situation.

Casemiro was moved into central defence for the final month of the season (Image: Getty)

“It’s not only about me – Harry is playing with Casemiro, we don’t know if he likes it or not, but we have to be pragmatic, and look what is best for the team. If I have to play striker, I will play striker.”

A wave of injuries in central defence forced Casemiro to move back from his favoured holding midfield role for the final seven matches of the season. Calamitous performances in the defeats to Crystal Palace and Arsenal sparked widespread criticism of the Brazilian.

But Onana has jumped to his team-mate’s defence, adding: “Casemiro is doing a fantastic job for us – he’s playing there because the team need him there.

“Diogo Dalot is sometimes playing left-back because the team need him. We can go point-by-point – against Liverpool, Bruno [Fernandes] was centre-back when Harry got injured. We have to look what is best for team – we are United players, and when you are here, you have a good level.”

United finished the season on a positive note, with wins over Newcastle and Brighton, but the results couldn’t prevent a hugely disappointing eighth-place Premier League finish.

Slipping all the way down from third last season, the Red Devils have missed out on qualification for all forms of European football, leaving Ten Hag hanging by a thread during the summer.