“Oh, oh, oh, it’s Carrick, you know. It’s hard to believe it’s not Scholes,” the famous line that is chanted by Manchester United fans for Michael Carrick over the years. It’s been ten years since he completed his move to Old Trafford and the maestro has gone on to make over 400 appearances for the club.
Having signed Carrick from Tottenham Hotspur for £18 million in 2006, Sir Alex Ferguson saw the central midfielder as the ideal replacement for the departed Roy Keane.
The 2012/13 season was arguably his best campaign in a United shirt, playing a key role in the club’s mst recent Premier League title, missing just two league games that year. Despite not having the ideal physical or tackling attributes to play as a defensive midfielder, Carrick’s intelligence and reading of the game saw him thrive in the role.
Carrick also offers a lot in the attacking side of the game with his range of passing and creativity. It could be argued that the 35-year-old has never really gotten the credit he deserves. Once his time at Old Trafford is over, he’ll be one of those players that we wish we’d appreciated a little more when he was around.
With the side currently lacking the right balance in midfield under José Mourinho, Carrick could be the perfect solution.
“One thing is to be 25, another thing is 35. That is logic. The only thing I can say is he is phenomenal, no doubts,” Mourinho said when asked about Michael Carrick this week.
“I can’t expect from Michael what I can expect from Rashford or Herrera. Playing 3, 4, 5 consecutive matches"
Carrick may no longer have the legs to play on a weekly basis, but he could still be used in the big games -- and especially in the away matches — to allow Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to advance forward whilst he sits deep.
The Englishman has been utilised in five games so far this campaign, only one of those appearances came in the league. Keeping in mind that United have won all the games that Carrick has played in under Mourinho, it looks like he’s part of a winning formula, but the manager hasn’t realised it yet.
For United fans, it will be hard to face the day when Carrick retires, but they would be even happier to know that he did a fantastic job in Mourinho’s first year at the club. The Portuguese is still working out his Plan A and the best first eleven to field on the pitch, most supporters will surely hope Carrick features in more games very soon.