Claude Makelele is the perfect example of a player that rarely made the headlines, despite the Frenchman’s performances meriting a place in the spotlight.

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick falls under the same category, with his consistency at Old Trafford often going unnoticed as his role demands the less glamorous side of the game.

The 32-year-old orchestrates the midfield, with his positional sense and calmness on the ball often providing the foundations for an attack.

His ability to sweep up in front of the United defence is frequently overlooked, with the strikers at the club attracting the plaudits and stealing the attention.

Carrick, who moved to the club from Tottenham Hotspur, rarely gets his name on the scoresheet and contributes little in terms of assists.

However, the importance of his holding role is paramount to the United cause in relation to both the attacking and defensive sides of the game.

Arsenal visit the Manchester club on Sunday for an eagerly-anticipated clash that could leave David Moyes’ team 11 points off the pace and potentially rule them out of the title race for good.

The Gunners are in fine form after recent victories over Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, with their midfield showing creativity in and around the box and providing their opponents with a problem they struggled to solve.

With that in mind, Carrick's absence due to injury is a major blow to United's chances of taming the Gunners' attack, with the England international known for his ability to break up play and win the ball for his side.

The current Premier League champions will need a big performance from whoever is chosen to play the 'Makelele role' as they look to stay in touch with the leading pack.

However, without their number 16, a crack may appear in the Manchester United team as Carrick's importance in the side becomes ever so clear.

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