Owen Hargreaves says Casemiro, not Marcus Rashford, is Manchester United’s Player of the Year.
The Brazilian joined the Red Devils in a £60m deal from Real Madrid last summer after a poor start to the season for Erik ten Hag.
But after defeats to Brighton and Brentford in the first two games, United’s form improved markedly following the arrival of Casemiro.
The Brazilian scored in United’s 2-0 win against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final, helping the club to their first trophy in six years.
Rashford was the other goalscorer of the day and the English forward is one of the leading names for the Premier League player of the year award.
The striker has scored 28 goals this season and he has often carried the burden of scoring United’s goals this season.
But while Hargreaves agrees Rashford is one of the main contenders, he is backing Casemiro to win the club prize.
“Marcus has been in the headlines, but I think if you look at Casemiro the team is so different when he’s not playing, every step of the way,” Hargreaves told Manutd.com.
“It affects David De Gea, it affects the back four, it affects the balance of the midfield.
“Marcus will be in the headlines, and rightly so, because in a way he was devastating. Casemiro is the glue guy.
“It would be a tough call, I want to give it to Marcus but I think Casemiro has taken the team to the next level.”
Despite disciplinary issues this time around, which saw Casemiro miss eight games through suspension, he brought out the best in his teammates.
And Hargreaves says he deserves the accolade for the consistency of his portrayals.
“I think that’s [Casemiro’s consistency] the only thing. There have been so many great players here, but the greats, the greats are consistent,” he continued.
“You think of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, they’re seven out of ten pretty much every game and sometimes they’re eight or nine and rarely have a five out of ten.
“I think Casemiro does that. He’s always a seven, eight out of ten, he rarely makes mistakes. Which I love, I think it might surprise some people, but as good as he is defensively, his first pass is always forward.
‘Sir Alex always said, ‘If you get the ball, play it forward’ He wins it and he passes it forward, he takes it from Bruno or he takes it from Eriksen who plays Marcus or one attacking players.
“Casemiro was fantastic, he wins back the ball, he protects the team, but he’s also a fantastic forward passer.”