Date: 12th April 2011 at 4:25pm
Written by:
Michael Carrick

Can United's number 16 banish the memory of last season?

The past 12 months couldn’t have been more of a rollercoaster for a certain Geordie midfielder who wears the famous Roy Keane number 16 shirt.

This time last year Michael Carrick earned the sort of vitriol from United fans usually reserved for a certain Argentinean gentleman who defected over to Eastlands.

Carrick was blamed pretty much universally by United fans for the clubs Champions League exit againt Bayern Munich. At Old Trafford, Carrick being outmuscled by Ivica Olic for the first Bayern goal then giving the ball away which led to the second was too much for some Reds to take and he quickly became a pariah.

The former Spurs man didn’t exactly do himself any favours by also giving the ball away in the home game against Liverpool which led to Fernando Torres opening the scoring.

It seemed Carrick was in self destruct mode, as Sir Alex Ferguson finally ran out of patience dropping him for the team and a player that should have been guaranteed a place in Fabio Capello’s starting line-up for the World Cup found himself an unused substitute throughout the tournament.

More than one person has suggested that Carrick never quite looked the same after that fateful night in Rome, when Xavi and his team-mates walked through the United midfield as though it was a training session involving traffic cones.

There’s also been suggestions that Carrick’s been moved too far deep and made to play a role which doesn’t get the best out of him, or at the very least makes him less appreciated than some of his colleagues.

Whatever the reasons given for Carrick’s fall from grace, there’s no denying that by the end of last season he was pretty much public enemy number one for a lot of United fans.

Since the Summer Carrick’s slowly but surely won back both the confidence of his manager and to a lesser degree the respect of the fans.

Many Reds still criticise Carrick as being a passenger who does nothing but pass the ball backwards, although his supporters- of which there are more than just a few- claim that without him, United would struggle and he’s actually the unsung hero of the team.

One area all United fans agree on is Carrick’s performance at Stamford Bridge last week which was by all accounts, quite frankly superb.

Carrick seemed like the player we bought from Spurs five years ago, winning the ball, picking out killer passes and taking the sting out of the game when needed. Some fans, myself included, labeled it his greatest game in a Red shirt since Roma 2007.

It’s almost one year to the day that Carrick suffered the worst 90 minutes of his United career, a game so bad many thought it may actually lead to him leaving Old Trafford.

Should United go through to the semi finals of the Champions League tonight and Carrick play his part, then finally he can put the spectre of the Bayern Munich game behind him and prove all of his critics- including many of his own fans, wrong.


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5 responses to “Will Tonight Be Redemption For Michael Carrick?”

  1. Mark Hunter says:

    Ferguson usually credits Carrick’s steadying influence at the back and his defensive capabilities, but for me the mistakes he makes and the all too frequent negativity of his passing outweighs any defensive balance he may give us. Far too often he has just been a liability, and he needs some stiff competition next season if he is to get back to his old form. The sooner Fletcher is back the better – although I fear I may have opened another can of worms there!

  2. Baldrick says:

    Carrick’s form has been fantastic of late. Let’s hope it continues for the next couple of matches at least πŸ™‚

  3. Baldrick says:

    Thought he played a good game against Fulham too πŸ™‚

  4. BD says:

    Anyone who cannot see that Carrick is the best midfielder in England – by a considerable distance – doesn’t understand the beautiful game. Some ManU fans got on his back a year ago, but they are the same fans that were chanting for Sir Alex to be sacked twenty years ago. Morons!

    Carrick was pivotal in ManU winning three Premier titles, and he will shortly win his fourth title in five seasons at the club, and probably play in his 3rd Champions League final. When he came to ManU, the club had not won a title for three years.

    ” He reads the game so well, he is always ahead of what is going to happen and he is always in the right position. When he gets the ball, he plays it easy and he is available to his team-mates all the time. For me, he has the profile to play for Barcelona or any of the Spanish teams” (Xabi Alonso)

    Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Sir Alex understand the game, football fans that write off Carrick do not.

    Capello should have built the England team around Carrick, instead he stuck with the Roy of The Rovers duo of Gerrard and Lampard – and we all saw how effective this double act was at the World Cup.

    Carrick is the best passer in the English game, he makes more interceptions than anyone else, and he has covered more distance than other ManU players in almost every single Champions League game.

    Pure class.