We always find it quite amusing speaking about Michael Carrick to football lovers who don’t support Manchester United.
The fact that Carrick has never been in the shop window for England for a sustained period means that those who don’t watch United each week don’t really value him. Some actually think he’s rubbish. Indeed, if you asked ten random football fans, we think at least a few would use that term to describe the midfielder.
But, right now, he’s quite simply United’s most important player. David de Gea has made some unbelievable saves as his reputation as a world class stopper continues to grow.
But Carrick’s influence is all over the pitch. Manchester United accrued 13 points in 9 games without him. He returned for the second half against Manchester City. And in the 5 games since United have picked up a maximum 15 points.
Well, this immaculate run is not all down to Carrick. United have been lucky at times on a clunky run of wins. But he has been a massive influence in that turnaround.
So why is Carrick so important, in a few words?
Passing ability, athleticism and reading of the game
Scores of times, since he has returned, Carrick has been in the right place at the right time – to intercept a pass, stop an attack or help out his defence. Carrick’s positioning is flawless for Manchester United and that minimises the effects of mistakes made by the defenders. He sweeps so many loose balls so United look more solid as a unit.
Carrick’s passing is nearly as important. He has replaced Paul Scholes as the best passer in the team. He’s so accurate with the ball at his feet and can also hit the long distance, quarterback style, pass with great accuracy.
Add to this the athleticism of the man, which is commonly overlooked, and you have a dream of a player. LvG knows it and will be wrapping the England man in cotton wool to ensure he remains fit for the business end of the season.
Manchester United fans: Is Carrick United’s most crucial player right now?