Despite having had nearly three months to get to grips with his Manchester United team, Jose Mourinho’s squad selection remains fundamentally confusing.
One minute Juan Mata is in the side, the next he isn’t and summer investment Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being regularly banished from the squad. The Special One can’t seem to settle on a single direction or set-up.
His treatment of Michael Carrick in particular has caused both controversy and bemusement. Furthermore, with Mourinho showing little sign of relenting on the issue, Rio Ferdinand has spoken out.
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If ever there was a midfielder that epitomised consistency and reliability, it was Carrick.
So you’d think that, given United’s anarchic form, the Englishman would be the perfect solution to steady the ship. This is Mourinho though and his stubbornness can often override what at times appears the obvious solution.
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After all, Carrick’s only Premier League appearance this season proved a mere 12 minute cameo in the 4-1 win over Leicester City.
While the 35-year-old has being frequently used in the EFL Cup, his solid performances in this competition have yet to provoke change. This is despite his goal against Northampton and buccaneering role in the Manchester derby win.
When questioned about the issue though, Mourinho cites the Englishman’s age as the reason for drip-feeding him game time.
According to the Mirror, the 53-year-old conceded that: "I cannot expect from him what I expect from Rashford and Herrera.
“He’s not just a player he is someone who has a big understanding of the game and it’s a pity you sometimes cannot stop the clock.”
However, such a stance proves questionable when you consider Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the same age yet starts every league game for the Special One. It certainly doesn’t serve to quell the air of unknown over Mourinho’s tactics.
The lack of sound justification and continual snubs has provoked a backlash from pundits and supporters though. Ferdinand has been the latest to back Carrick.
The 37-year-old took to Twitter as means of fighting his old teammates’ corner amid his struggles for game time. His comments can be seen below:
Given United’s form, such comments are hard to be ignored. After all, the longer the Red Devils tread water in seventh place, the greater the need for change will become.
If the 53-year-old wants to change United’s fortunes, he should go back to what the club knows best and the robust reliability of Carrick. Besides, Paul Pogba’s performances aren’t exactly damaging Ferdinand’s cause.
In light of his age too, a lengthy queue of clubs will continue to amass if Carrick’s Old Trafford future is further compromised.
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