Carrick set to reprise defensive role

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Football News

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to ask Michael Carrick to carry on defending to solve one of the worst injury crises of his 23-year Manchester United reign.

Carrick came on to replace Gary Neville at centre-back in Saturday's 4-0 victory against West Ham at Upton Park and now Ferguson wants Carrick - who had never played in central defence before - to demonstrate his all-round talent again by partnering Nemanja Vidic in Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Wolfsburg.

Ferguson said: "The injuries in defence are becoming a bit of a headache to us. Carrick stepped in and did very, very well. He's got the composure and the pace and it was a good performance in the second half. We used our experience."

Ferguson expects Vidic to have recovered from a bout of flu but will be without a long line of defenders including Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, John O'Shea, Neville, who pulled up with a groin injury on Saturday, Rafael and Wes Brown who limped off in the dying minutes.

If any team knows how to deal with a crisis it is United, whose back four at the end of Saturday's game comprised of three midfielders in Ryan Giggs, Carrick and Darren Fletcher, plus left-back Patrice Evra playing at centre half. And still West Ham never looked like scoring.

While the injury toll created the headlines, it was two old men in 35-year-old Paul Scholes and 36-year-old Giggs who deserved the plaudits after another example of United's resilience in the face of adversity.

Giggs was a constant inspiration, proving again why he is a worthy contender for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year prize later this month.

It was Scholes, however, who had both managers marvelling at the consistent standard he has managed to maintain down the years with an opening 20-yard, left-footed screamer in first-half injury-time which was as sweet as it gets.

Ironically, Scholes had hinted at his imminent retirement before this game, pondering whether his contribution was still what it was in the days when he was first man on the team sheet at Old Trafford and with England.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Ryan Giggs
European News
John O'Shea
Wes Brown
Premier League
Michael Carrick
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Patrice Evra
Nemanja Vidic
Darren Fletcher
Paul Scholes
Gary Neville
Jonny Evans
Rio Ferdinand

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