The midfielder seemed to walk a tightrope for the rest of the game before he was substituted in the 65th minute and could have easily been handed a second yellow just three minutes later following another clumsy challenge on Emil Krafth and again narrowly avoided a red when he threw the ball away after referee Robert Jones awarded a Magpies free-kick. “Hannibal should be off,” Neville admitted during his commentary duties. “He&aposs lucky because the referee didn&apost want to send him off. He&aposs got to be careful to say the least – he&aposs hanging in there by a thread.”
You would think that in such situations, the responsibility to calm the youngster down and make him fall in line would be on the captain, yet the person who had been handed the armband for the night appeared to do nothing.
Reds boss Erik ten Hag had described Casemiro as &aposthe perfect one to wear the armband&apos in Bruno Fernandes&apos absence ahead of kick-off. Yet when he most needed to show the leadership qualities his manager had raved about, he came up lacking.
“Yeah but I think he&aposs always showing that,” Ten Hag said about Casemiro&aposs leadership ahead of the game. “Every training, every game I think he&aposs shown that.”
But those qualities were nowhere to be seen against Newcastle. Instead, Casemiro&aposs name joined Hannibal&aposs in the book just five minutes later.
It raises question marks, for the second time in less than a week, over who Ten Hag is handing the captain&aposs armband to. Reds legend Roy Keane tore into Bruno Fernandes over his leadership of the team following the 3-0 defeat to bitter rivals City on Sunday.
“The first thing I would do, having watched him again today, is definitely take the captaincy off him, 100 per cent,” Keane told Sky Sports. “I know it&aposs a big decision and obviously he did change the captaincy from [Harry] Maguire, but Fernandes is not captain material.”
As the old saying goes, captains need to act as the manager&aposs mouthpiece on the pitch. That is the level of responsibility required and when you&aposre in the trenches it is time to step up and lead.