Manchester United star is key to England's World Cup hopes
England's defeat to Chile highlighted the importance of Michael Carrick's role for his country
After the joy of reaching the World Cup just a matter weeks ago with victory over Poland, Friday's disappointing display against Chile came as a stark reminder to all England fans not to get carried away.
In a way, celebrating home victories over Poland and Montenegro in the manner we did, you could argue England supporters had already done just that.
Yes, it was a good achievement to qualify for the next summer's World Cup tournament in Brazil, but anything other than that would have been a huge shock.
Far from convincing at times, England got the job done, all be it with some nervy moments against the Poles. But for an uncharacteristic miss from Robert Lewandowski, things could have been very different.
With the team on a high, Friday's home game against Chile came as a great chance to continue their unbeaten run, while throwing some new faces into the actions as Roy Hodgson's side looked to build on the momentum of qualification.
Safe to say this didn't quite go to plan.
The South American outfit impressed from the off, and sparked by their star player Alexis Sanchez, gave England a lesson in the harsh reality of international football.
Comfortable in possession, confident on the ball, and willing to play their way up the pitch, Chile frustrated England, and demonstrated the type of football that homes fans crave.
In contrast, England were sluggish, poor in possession and showed all the signs of a team that will struggle in Brazil next summer.
Their inability to successful string a number of passes together highlighted the absence of Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, arguably England's best passer, who was missing through injury.
His Achilles problem will keep him sidelined for a few weeks, meaning he will also miss Tuesday's clash with Germany. But in a way, it could be his absence that strengthens his claims for a place in Hodgson's starting 11.
A regular in the Manchester United side that has been so successful over recent seasons, Carrick's performances often go unnoticed, however his role in the side is key.
The starting point for building attacks, the holding midfielder not only has the ability to maintain possession for United, but also contributes with a number of interceptions and tackles to break up opposition attacks.
These attributes, and the fact he is so comfortable with the ball at his feet, even in tight situations, highlight his importance to the England squad, and show why he must feature if England are to have any success in Brazil.
A friendly defeat with a weakened side is not the end of the world, far from it, but the signs were there. Without the likes of Carrick, England's inability to keep the ball means anything more than a place in the last 16 of the World Cup, will be a bonus.
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