Crucial Carrick: Is the 35-year-old still the man to make United tick?
Over the last couple of years, there’s been no shortage of praise for Michael Carrick on ManchesterLaLaLa.com.
In November 2014, we asked “is this guy our most underrated player?” and one writer, quite persuasively at the time, suggested a Blind/Carrick midfield was the way forward.
Earlier this year, after a dominant 3-0 win against Stoke in February, I, along with many others, argued that Carrick was the key to United rediscovering their attacking style.
We’re happy to have a 35-year-old playing week in, week out up front, but Carrick, just 3 months older than our Swedish talisman, has not enjoyed a consistent run in the team for a long, long time. Indeed, Mourinho has claimed, following our 3-1 win against Swansea on Sunday (Carrick’s first Premier League start this campaign), that he “would love to play him every game, but that’s not possible.”
I don’t think anyone expects Carrick to play every game, but I desperately want to see him used more than he is right now. He’s been shamefully overlooked by England for large chunks of his career – a loss for both player and country – but that perhaps means he should still have plenty to give, having expended less net energy than many players at his level over the years. Having been overlooked for yet another national squad, I think it’s high time he announced his international retirement and redoubled his focus on the winter of his United career.
Ryan Giggs was 36 when he won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009. He was an absolute one-off, no doubt, but it does provide a bit more context. And when Paul Scholes came out of retirement, he was 37, and I would have happily watched him for another several seasons more!
Nostalgia notwithstanding, though, I refuse to accept that Carrick can’t still player a major role for us this season, and maybe next. Don’t get me wrong, we need to be planning for life post-Carrick, but that’s no reason not to make the most of his metronomic talents whilst he still seemingly has so much to give.
If you’re still not convinced, reflect on this for a second…
STATS WHEN MICHAEL CARRICK HAS PLAYED THIS SEASON
- 6 games played
- 6 games won
- 17 goals scored
- 5 goals conceded
No Carrick, no party.