Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

“Carrick the key to United title push”

Posted by hakanrylander on February 2, 2009

The Times got it right this morning:

…but as good as the United goalkeeper and the back four in front of him have been, it is impossible to overemphasise the importance of the contribution Michael Carrick has made to the success of that rearguard action.

It is widely accepted that Carrick is a wonderful passer of the ball, but it is his ability to break up the play with the minimum of fuss and, in turn, screen the defence so serenely that often goes unnoticed because of the manner of its execution.

Players such as Roy Keane and Paul Ince, who occupied Carrick’s position previously for United, were famed for launching into tackles and throwing their weight around, but Carrick prefers to nick the ball away from opponents with perfectly timed interceptions. He did just that in the 88th minute when Steven Pienaar, the Everton midfield player, hit on the counter-attack, while his block to deny Mikel Arteta moments earlier was equally impressive.

And then there is Carrick’s ability to make penetrating runs from deep, as he did to win United the penalty from which Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game’s only goal and again at the start of the second half, when he should have been awarded a second penalty after being barged over by Joleon Lescott. Carrick must surely be figuring prominently in Fabio Capello’s thoughts as the England manager prepares to name this weekend his squad to face Spain in a friendly in Seville on Wednesday week.

“Sir Alex must have Michael down as the first name on the team-sheet in midfield,” Bryan Robson, the former United and England midfield player, said. “He reads the game so intelligently. He brings a lovely sort of balance to more attacking players like [Wayne] Rooney and Ronaldo.”

Couldn’t agree more.

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2 Responses to ““Carrick the key to United title push””

  1. The Gaffer said

    Carrick has been on of United’s unsung heroes. He deserves his REALLY OVERDUE praise. Carrick should be in the England squad and in my view should be in the shortlist for team of the year.

  2. It’s amazing to see to how much he’s improved from when United first signed him to now. I can see Berbatov heading down the same path with the guidance of Sir Alex.

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