Manchester United star Michael Carrick has proved just how important he is to the team, as the Red Devils have racked up a six-game winning streak since his return.
Carrick damaged ankle ligaments just a week after Louis Van Gaal took over at Old Trafford and has spent a torrid four months on the sidelines.
Since returning against Crystal Palace last month though, the 33-year-old has been magnificent, playing in his natural midfield role, as well as dropping and playing as a makeshift central defender due to United's injury woes.
Before Carrick picked up his injury, Van Gaal had him as a serious contender to become club captain, insisting the ex West-Ham midfielder was a huge part of his plans.
It is so clear to see why he is rated so highly by both Sir Alex Ferguson and Van Gaal, however he remains so underrated in terms of his ability at the highest level.
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To be able to drop into defence and play the way he did against Liverpool on Sunday is magnificent. He read the game so well, cutting off everything The Reds had to offer as well as playing some fantastic football at times.
After the Red Devils spent such a massive amount of money in the summer, many probably just forgot about Carrick's existence - yet he is keeping the likes of Ander Herrera out of the side and playing as well, if not better than any Manchester United defender has all season.
He is a player that you don't fully appreciate until he is not there, much the story of this season for United. Without Carrick in the side, United struggled with consistency, and now since his return, they have not dropped a point.
Carrick will surely remain a consistent figure in United's starting XI, as he offers so much to the team - and should his and United's form continue, there is no reason why they cannot have a very good season.
Alan Shearer has heaped praise upon the former Spurs man, claiming he is not only United's best midfielder, but the club's best defender also.
“You’ve now got Man United’s best midfielder being Man United’s best centre-half and that tells you something.
“He’s very good at reading the game, he can smell danger. But also his range of passing, he can spray those 30-40 yard passes, whether he’s sitting in front of the back four or three, or whether he’s in between playing the back three," Shearer said.
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