Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Giggs have paid tribute to Michael Carrick following the midfielders stunning performance in United's Champions League victory over Chelsea.
Carrick played a decisive part in setting up Wayne Rooney's solitary goal which separated the two sides, while marshalling Frank Lampard expertly in midfield.
And Vidic and Giggs, who themselves made telling contributions in United's victory, have saluted the 29-year-old's impact.
Vidic said: "From the players' point of view, Michael is a very important player for us. He brings a lot of balance to the team – he's a link between defence and attack.
"Maybe he's not the most attractive footballer – he doesn't often do fancy tricks – but for our team he plays a key role.
"He takes up good positions so the defenders can always pass to him and he defends very well. He's a top player and has a lot of passion for the game."
Giggs said: "I've felt he's been outstanding over the past couple of weeks, to be honest with you.
"He's got good feet, he can pass long and short. But he also defends well and screens the back four."
The England international's contribution in Europe, which has seen him appear more times in the Champions League than any of his teammates, with United yet to concede a goal away from home in the competition.