Michael Carrick has spent the past decade at Manchester United but, since Jose Mourinho's arrival at Old Trafford this summer, the midfielder has struggled for game time.
But it isn't for his lack of impact, as suggested by his performance against Turkish outfit Fenerbahce, in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
United comfortably ran out 4-1 winners, and Carrick's rare start was backed up with a performance worthy enough of forcing the Portuguese to consider him for the Red Devil's trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
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It was only four months ago that the 35-year-old was expressing his delight at signing a new 12-month deal at Old Trafford, but it's certainly been a more testing start to the campaign than he has been used to in recent years.
Mourinho has preferred Marouane Fellaini to Carrick so far this campaign. However, speaking as a pundit on ITV on Thursday evening, former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood went as far as to claim United's local rivals, Manchester City, may even make a shock January move for the player.
Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho have been City boss Pep Guardiola's first choices in midfield, but Sherwood believes Carrick can do a better job in midfield and would represent the kind of anchormen the Spaniard had at his disposal during his time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“Michael Carrick plays in every single Premier League team. First name on the team sheet in my opinion." said Sherwood.
City need Carrick
“Man City are crying out for a Michael Carrick. They play Fernando or Fernandinho in there, they’re good at what they do, but they can’t do what he can do.
“They can’t link play like Michael Carrick.
“When Pep Guardiola is at Barcelona he had [Sergio] Busquets doing that. He is not someone who runs around kicking people. Xabi Alonso at Bayern Munich. Michael Carrick is a replica of them [two] players.
“And if Manchester United don’t want to play him, Manchester City will buy him in January."
It is a bold claim made by the 47-year-old, who spent the best part of his playing career at a Premier League title-winning Blackburn Rovers side during the mid 90s. And whether the veteran midfielder could get into the current City squad is questionable.
Nonetheless, the praise for Carrick on Thursday evening strongly suggests Mourinho should consider a midfield reshuffle, when he makes his return to Stamford Bridge in the opposition dugout this weekend.
Neither United or Chelsea are in the greatest of form at the moment, and the experience of Carrick, who has featured four times so far this season, could have a significant influence on whether Mourinho takes three points back to Old Trafford on Sunday, or not.
Does Michael Carrick deserve to start for Manchester United against Chelsea on Sunday? Have your say in the comment box below.
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