Football

Michael Carrick's influence at Manchester United is fading

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Many have watched Michael Carrick in a United shirt over the past nine seasons and been impressed with his overall team player, his mentality, his vision and his professionalism.

He has stayed in the Manchester United first team consistently throughout his time at Old Trafford but now it seems his career is starting to fall from its peak.

COMFORT ZONE

Carrick often appears to sit in a comfort zone – the area between the back four and the centre spot. Some may argue, this is where he orchestrates the midfield but others disagree.

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Instead of surging forward like Roy Keane once did, who played the same position of defensive midfielder turning it into attack, Carrick seems content to slow the play and pass the ball backwards or to a player closest to him.

Perhaps it's time he needed a new challenge, push further forward and let Daley Blind take the defensive midfielder role.

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THE KILLER, DEFENCE SPLITTING PASSES ARE LACKING RECENTLY

Michael Carrick began with great promise, when he was first installed in the United midfield with Giggs, Scholes and Ronaldo. But since their retirements and departures from the club, he has looked a little lost.

He can pass the ball beautifully, sometimes, but quite often, his through balls are cut out. When the statistics appear on screen at the end of each match, they make great reading. Last season his average was 89% upwards according to ManUtd.com, but watching the games carefully, you'll see the vast majority of these passes are played along one line sideways or backwards in a range of five to ten yards.

Basically, they aren't the sort of passes Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard were making in their heydays; what Cesc Fabregas, Edin Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and David Silva are doing now which cause problems for defenders and opportunities for strikers.

LACK OF LEADERSHIP FROM A SENIOR PLAYER

When a time is needed for the experience players to take the reins and calm the youngster down, in the last two circus seasons, Carrick has been somewhat absent. Granted he has been asked to slot into the back four a number of times when injuries hit the squad but he has never looked comfortable giving orders and United were losing games they should have been winning.

The blame cannot be laid all at Carrick’s door, of course not, but his long term experience should have been used to rally the inexperienced players and organise them into a team that could hold its own.

In the 2012-13 season, David Moyes’ fateful debut season at Old Trafford, Match of the Day did an analysis of United’s midfielders at the time, namely Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick and all turned up with poor pass completion rates.

This was reposted on Twitter for all to see. Carrick should have been pulling the strings and inspiring the youngster Cleverley and new boy Fellaini. He sadly did neither.

Consider that Carrick is the second longest serving player in the United Squad, after Wayne Rooney.

OWN GOAL AGAINST BRUGGE

This maybe selected as an isolated incident but Carrick of old would have been more alert to the danger in the first leg against Club Brugge. His flat footed approach caused him to react later than he normally would and caused the goal against United in the first qualifying game.

Despite United qualifying comfortably, after their overall aggregate win of 7-1 over Club Brugge, it must have given Louis van Gaal something to consider when selecting the Newcastle line up, which saw Carrick start on the bench.

CAREER DECLINING OR JUST A BLIP?

Many United fans will hope he is having a blip and is struggling to cope with the burden of a rotating squad, which in fairness to him, he has had to play a number of unnatural positions, disrupting his game and general style of play.

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Topics:
Football
Michael Carrick
Premier League
Manchester United

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