Michael Carrick has been one of Manchester United’s most important players over the past few years. However, many fans at the start of the season saw this year as possibly his last, but he has proved them wrong as he has become one of the most vital players for United this season. But at the age of the 35, how long does he have left?
Since joining the club back in 2006 from Tottenham Hotspur he has been a great servant to the team. During his time at Old Trafford, he has won five Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, one Emirates FA Cup, one League Cup, six FA Community Shields and a FIFA Club World Cup, but what has he brought to the current squad that makes it tick.
Whether it’s turning attack into defence in the blink of an eye or making a last-ditch tackle that saves the game, Carrick can do them all. The likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović steal the limelight at times from players like Carrick. He has done a fantastic job of running the midfield this season, Ander Herrera and Pogba can learn a lot from him and develop into better overall midfielders.
— Red Related (@RedRelated) December 17, 2016
Since being put back into the starting XI by Jose Mourinho, the team has benefited massively from his presence. In the 11 games that Carrick has started this season United have been unbeaten which is a great return. In the 13 games that he has featured in this season, United have managed to bag a total of 32 goals. This is no coincidence as when Carrick isn’t on the team they can struggle massively; both defensively and offensively.
He often goes under the radar during matches and lets the younger players express themselves at the top end of the pitch. Since pairing with Herrera in the midfield, United’s overall game has developed pace, which has only helped players like Pogba and Jesse Lingard. With Carrick holding back in the midfield it gives other players a chance to roam forward in search of a goal, but when he is needed he is cool under pressure and always finds the right pass.
In an attacking sense, Carrick can see a move before it even happens. He can fire a great ball to all areas of the pitch, switching a tricky defensive position into a great attacking opportunity for the team. This has become vital this season with players and fans becoming more frustrated with the lack of movement at the higher ends of the pitch at times. He does a fantastic job in the current team of moving the ball forward quickly.
Although the statistics show that the 35-year-old has only contributed to one goal all season, we as fans can see a huge difference in the way the team plays with him. As he has grown older and developed into the squad, his leadership qualities have started to emerge. Being one of the senior players in the squad along with Wayne Rooney, he has been trusted with the captain’s armband on several occasions during this season. We can see a huge difference in the confidence of the team when he is captain, the players trust him and he delivers each time he is asked. This added confidence helps us to go that extra mile and push for the winner or the equaliser in many games which has been needed a few times during this season.
One striking thing about Carrick is his calmness on and off the ball. When he receives the ball in a tough situation he never seems fazed by the prospected and he then delivers. Whether it’s a clever two-yard pass or a 60 yard Hollywood ball to the striker he seems to effortlessly find a team mate. When he is off the ball we see a different side of his game, which players like Herrera and Pogba in the midfield have started to pick up on. This is when he creates space for a pass or, asking for the ball, he continually does this up until the full-time whistle.
Manchester United have made more interceptions in the opposition's half (63) than any other PL team this season. [Squawka] #MUFC
— Devils Latest (@Devils_Latest) December 16, 2016
In recent statistics posted by Squawka, United have had completed the most interceptions in the opposition’s half with a total of 63. This is largely due to Carrick and his midfield partners who have at several points during this season with a total of 63. This is largely due to Carrick and his midfield partners who have at several points during this season have sped up the play and pressured opponents into making mistakes.
Carrick has helped the team on numerous occasions this season. His overall game has developed massively over the past few seasons with more responsibility being put on his shoulders. His midfield partners, whether its Herrera, Pogba or Rooney can learn a lot from his game. His defensive mindset and footballing brain have turned him into one of the best central midfielders in the country. Hopefully, he will be able to continue his good form for the years to come.
Written by Adam Harrison