There’s no doubt that Michael Carrick has been a hugely influential presence on Manchester United’s style of play ever since he moved to Old Trafford from Tottenham in 2006. His footballing intelligence, calmness on the ball and tremendous range of passing mean that, especially in recent years, Carrick has been able to pick up the mantle left by legendary midfielder Paul Scholes to control and dictate the tempo at which United play, with both the performances and the results of the team worsening noticeably when he is absent through injury.
However at 34 years of age the England international is entering the final phase of his Man United career, so this article introduces a young man who might have the credentials to successfully replace Carrick and become the Red Devils’ new midfield maestro over a long period in the not too distant future.
Sean Goss joined United from Exeter City at the age of 16 in the summer of 2012 following some eye-catching performances in the AEGON Future Cup and since then he has progressed his way through the youth ranks at Old Trafford from Under-18 level up to the Under-21 side, for whom he made ten appearances last season as United’s youngsters won the Under-21 Premier League title. His first goal for the Under-21s came last season against Leicester City after he linked up expertly with Robin van Persie, but Reserves coach Warren Joyce has focused the majority of his attention on developing Goss’ defensive understanding of the game and improving his awareness on the pitch.
Comparisons between Goss and Carrick have already been made because the young German-born talent possesses an accomplished passing range, an assuredness and confidence in possession and great technique. He’s the type of player who knows what he’s going to do with the ball before he receives it, he’s always thinking two or three passes ahead, and has the quick feet and silky skills to create problems for opposition defences. The boyhood United fan was a prolific goalscorer as a young child, but as he’s matured he has become a dependable character, a hard worker and has showed signs of developing into the complete midfielder.
After a very good campaign with the Under-21s, the 19-year-old trained with United’s first-team squad towards the end of last season and he impressed several senior players with not only his footballing ability but also his attitude. The belief that Goss’ first senior appearance for the Red Devils isn’t too far away only intensified when Louis van Gaal named the youngster in the senior squad’s pre-season tour of the United States. This gave him the opportunity to work with United’s boss, the Dutchman’s coaching staff and learn off the likes of club captain Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Carrick himself and many more.
CAN GOSS BREAK INTO THE FIRST-TEAM?
It would come as no shock to those associated with the club if Sean Goss goes on to make his first senior appearance for Manchester United this season, potentially in one of the cup competitions. It was also great for such a young player to be given that level of exposure during pre-season in the testing heat of America. In a game prepared by Van Gaal himself, Goss scored a fantastic goal to open the scoring in an Under-21 friendly win over Ajax last week.
He has certainly caught Van Gaal’s eye whenever he has been around the first-team and as the youngster continues to adapt to life in Manchester and amass more experience in the coming years, Goss should prove that he is capable enough to be Manchester United’s main midfield anchorman, just as Michael Carrick is in the current senior squad.