Michael Carrick had admitted a season plagued with injury has been something of a "nightmare" but hopes to regain full fitness before the end of the campaign.
The Manchester United midfielder started the season with a severe ankle injury that kept him out until mid-November. By the time he returned, the Red Devils were already facing criticism having won just three of their first ten Premier League games.
Carrick returned to first team action against Manchester City and, although they lost that game 1-0, his presence coincided with a dramatic upturn in results. The former England international helped to improve a defence decimated by injury and impressed Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman was so impressed that he offered Carrick a new 12-month contract. The deal will keep him at Old Trafford until 2016. However, Carrick still has plenty to think about this term with a number of important games on the horizon.
"It's been a bit of a nightmare season for me injury-wise"
The 33-year-old admitted that this season had been tough up until now, but is confident of keeping fit from now until May.
Carrick told United Review: "It's good to be back and I feel fine.
"Once you get back, you just want a run of games and hopefully I can get that.
"It's been a bit of a nightmare season for me injury-wise and just at the time in my career where you're getting a little bit older and you want to be playing as much as you can and enjoy your football.
"I've had a good run over the years, though, and hopefully this is the only blip so I can bounce back and get a good run of fitness now."
A key player
Carrick has become a key player for Manchester United as his passing ability has improved. Similar to Nemanja Matic, the deep-lying midfielder has offered essential protection to a defence that has failed to perform at times this season.
Without him, it is like Manchester United would have conceded more and would be out of the race for the top four. Everyone at Old Trafford will be hoping Carrick can stay fit ahead of a crucial run in.
Do Manchester United fans think Carrick is key to their top four chances? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!
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