Is Michael Carrick the Key to United Rediscovering their Attacking Style?


United turned up with a crowd-pleasing performance at home against Stoke last night. Martial has stolen the headlines again, and rightly so, after another man-of-the-match performance, whilst Wayne continued his Roonaissance, Borthwick-Jackson had a strong game on his birthday, and, on a night where we remembered the Busby Babes, Jesse Lingard helped prove that United’s philosophy lives on.

But it was the supremely calming presence of Michael Carrick that felt, to me, like the most vital element for United. His selection, alongside Fellaini, seemed to raise many eyebrows when the teams were announced, with plenty of fans vocally suggesting Schneiderlin and Herrera would be more effective and dynamic pairing in the centre.

But for me, a fit Carrick, even at 34 years of age, should always have a place in the team, and he was clearly glad to be back.

On reflection, you can see why LvG picked Fellaini to play with him in central midfield last night – he helped us deal with set pieces where players like Crouch and Arnautovic might otherwise have caused problems, and helped restrict Stoke’s time on the ball. Against different opposition, Carrick/Schneiderlin might be a better duo – they’re similar players in some ways, but, defensively, Schneiderlin relies more on energy and pressing, whereas Carrick relies more on positioning and his ability to read the game, and going forward, Carrick provides a range of passing we don’t get from anyone else in the team. It’s not hard to believe it’s not Scholes, but he’s the best we’ve got. When Schweinsteiger’s fit again, I really hope he doesn’t displace Carrick in the starting-11; as I’ve said before, I don’t think he’s done enough to justify that. For me, Carrick has always been underrated, and always will be, but I hope we make the most of him whilst he’s still able to exert such an influence on our play. As for who replaces him long-term, some people reckon Blind can eventually step into that role, but others aren’t sure. Either way, we really need to make sure we have a plan in that respect. Keep reading to see the Twitter reaction to Carrick’s role in last night’s refreshing win…