Former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore believes Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick would “almost be a liability” if he played for a club in the bottom half of the table - but feels the 33-year-old would be “magnificent” at Barcelona.
Speaking two days after England’s 1-1 draw against Italy in Turin, Collymore expressed his doubts over the former Tottenham star in his latest Bleacher Report column.
“Is Michael Carrick a legend or a myth? For me, it's a bit of a myth,” the talkSPORT presenter wrote. “Michael Carrick plays well in good teams with good possession who can get him the ball.”
Collymore takes aim at Carrick
Collymore is one of English football’s most outspoken pundits and is never afraid to speak his mind - whether it be on TV, radio or on Twitter - but he is often fascinating to listen to.
On Carrick, he added: “He was calm and assured in the friendly draw in Italy on Tuesday, but this was after the home side had made six substitutions and their whole system was disjointed.
Collymore: Carrick is a 'Marmite' player
“Carrick is a Marmite player. Some people think he's in the Xavi-Andres Iniesta bracket, while others say he isn't worth it.
“I’m somewhere in between. I saw him in the World Cup qualifier against Montenegro, and he sat back almost as a centre-half where Montenegro kept getting in behind him.
“Where he gets found out is when he gets turned over easily and cannot get back to protect. That means he becomes a bit of a liability because he is not a player who can get around and engage others, as Nemanja Matic can.”
Carrick would be 'magnificent' at Barcelona
Collymore concluded by saying: “If Carrick played for Barcelona, he would be magnificent. If he were with a team in the bottom half of the table, he would almost be a liability.”
It’s true that Carrick often looks far better in matches Manchester United and England dominate possession - and he does lack the dynamism of a player like Matic.
Arguably one of the best English passing midfielders of the last 10-15 years, Carrick has never been one to take a game by the scruff of the neck though, which is why some feel he has been a little under-appreciated.
But even United fans have not been totally sold on Carrick until relatively recently.
The England international was often left overshadowed by the irrepressible Paul Scholes, but began to come into his own around 2012.
Only since then have United fans chanted Carrick’s name in a song which also features the legendary Scholes - but not even the most loyal Carrick fan would argue he is in his retired teammate’s class.
United need to consider replacing Carrick
Despite that, he remains an important player in Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side and deservedly earned a one-year contract extension last month.
Because of his advancing years, though, it is time for the Red Devils to begin the search for a permanent replacement.
A technically-gifted passing midfielder like PSG’s Marco Verratti would be ideal.
Who should replace Michael Carrick at Manchester United? Have your say in the comments below!