Date:18th July 2011 at 4:16pm
Written by:
Michael Carrick

Will the midfielder finally silence his critics next season?

It seems strange how a player who’s won four titles in five years, appeared in three Champions League finals and is one of the first names on the United team sheet still has to win over some fans.

Michael Carrick is one player who’s critics point to his lack of goals, assists, domination of certain big games, while his fans- who always seem to be extremely passionate in their support of the midfielder- claim he’s the cog that makes the entire team tick.

Carrick’s taken it upon himself to comment on the retirement of Paul Scholes and how the Unied players need to step up and fill the void as a collective.

The Guardian notes:

“Michael Carrick believes Manchester United’s players need to take collective responsibility for trying to replace Paul Scholes. Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of the difficulties involved in finding a replacement for a player he regards as one of the best he has worked with.

“The United manager has played down the club’s interest in signing Internazionale’s Wesley Sneijder, while Tottenham Hotspur’s Luka Modric and Arsenal’s Samir Nasri appear bound for elsewhere.

“Carrick says the best way of overcoming Scholes’s departure is for everyone to do their bit. “Losing a player like Paul is a loss – he brings so much to the team,” Carrick said. “He was a world-class player, so you have to compensate in other ways. We have done that in the past – we lost Cristiano Ronaldo a few years ago and people didn’t think we’d get over it. But different players step up – maybe it is not one player but we share the responsibility.”

All very accurate and commendable from Mr Carrick, the question is can he be the one to take over from Scholes as the maestro to orchestrate the midfield? Some would argue he already does, although not even Carrick’s most ardent supporters could claim he’s as effective as Scholes was.

Part of the problem for me is that Carrick is played far too deep in a defensive midfield role that’s simply a waste of his talents and can often highlight his flaws. Carrick’s tackling is not his strong point and although he’s capable of mopping up loose balls and taking the sting out of the game when United are on the backfoot he’s never going to be a barnstorming terrier type that Owen Hargreaves was, or Darren Fletcher sometimes is.

Carrick’s best season was arguably his first when he was allowed much more freedom to roam further forward and it’s no suprise that also wielded his best ever goals tally.

A player of Carrick’s vision could be much more useful to United when he’s allowed to get more involved in the attacking apsect of the game, not just from the inception of an attack but also at the end of it.

With Scholes gone and the Sneijder saga still ongoing, could it be the man from Wallsend who rather than just being part of a ‘collective’ actually steps up and shows why his fans are so vocal in their support of him?