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Carrick peaks as Man Utd take charge

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Phil McNulty | 21:44 GMT, Saturday, 31 January 2009

Michael Carrick's price tag has often been used as a stick to clout him by those not convinced Manchester United were wise to spend £18.6m to secure him from Spurs in July 2006.

The sceptics - and yes, I was one of them - questioned such lavish expenditure on a player who, although gifted, was not even close to establishing himself with England when he arrived at Old Trafford.

It is the clearest indication of Carrick's development into the complete modern midfield player that he now looks something of a bargain when set against some of the fees being demanded - and in certain cases actually paid - in the current climate.

Mention the £18.6m now and the silence is deafening, because to watch him at close quarters in United's narrow, but vital, victory over Everton at Old Trafford was to witness a player coming to full maturity.

Sir Alex Ferguson's defence re-wrote the record books with a 12th successive Premier League clean sheet and Carlos Tevez showed the industy and inspiration that makes him so popular with Manchester United's fans.

But the real star of the show, unfussy but inspirational, was Carrick.

And, with Fabio Capello seemingly plotting an untroubled course to the 2010 World Cupwith England, Carrick now looks ready to muscle in alongside Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the scrap for central midfield places.

Michael Carrick in action against Everton

Carrick was United's orchestrator against an Everton side described by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in his programme notes as "the Premier League's big success story of the last five years."

He won one penalty, should have had another, started attacks with glorious raking passes, broke up rare Everton forays into United territory and threatened goals. Watch as closely as you liked for flaws - there were none to be seen.

It is little wonder Ferguson appears to be living in a state of footballing nirvana as United start to have that ominous look of champions again, coming to a peak while those around falter.

United have a defence that does not concede, a midfield of variety and strength and an attack that will - more often than not - score. It is a potent cocktail and the title is now Manchester United's to lose.

Everton, resilient as ever, were dogged opponents but never seriously threatened to produce the result that would bring satisfaction to Liverpool and Chelsea as well as themselves.

It took Cristiano Ronaldo's goal to settle affairs, but the gulf between the sides was huge.

Tevez was United's other bright spark - and there is an interesting little sub-plot developing at Old Trafford over his future.

Manchester United fans pose questions to Ferguson in the form of polite requests as opposed to ultimatums, but there is little doubt they are making their feelings plain about what they would like their manager to do when it comes to the Argentine,

I was at the recent win against Chelsea when a gentle jog down the touchline from Tevez was greeted by a standing ovation from large parts of Old Trafford. And again here there were enough chants of "sign him on" to give Sir Alex a shove.

Ferguson is wise to take his time over a Tevez deal. He has plenty of other attacking weaponry - and Tevez would do well to find anywhere better than Old Trafford to ply his trade.

It is a debate that is not affecting Tevez's performance or United's march to the top, so Ferguson will rightly proceed with caution until the right deal can be struck.

Carlos Tevez

As for Everton, it is huge credit to Moyes that he has marshalled such wafer-thin resources into a formidable unit, but there has to be a danger that subjecting such a small squad of players to tests week after week will eventually take its toll.

Everton are built around a superb defensive unit, but Moyes's "needs must" system with Tim Cahill as an auxiliary striker surely needs topping up with re-inforcements.

I asked Moyes whether he feared energy levels may suffer when he sends this gallant band to the well once more against Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round replay on Wednesday.

He told me: "I was more concerned about today because we played on Wednesday and United played on Tuesday. I'm sure we will be fine against Liverpool when it comes to our energy, it's a reverse now because we have played on Saturday and Liverpool play Sunday."

It was an optimistic message - and one Moyes is correct to deliver because Everton's players have earned the right not to be under-estimated. Ferguson certainly gave them full respect in his pre-match and post-match analysis.

Ferguson also happily admitted he hoped his relaxing Sunday would be brightened by a draw at Anfield - but his main concern is always his own team and they are currently taking care of business for him.

United look to be peaking at just the right time - a view that can be applied with equal confidence to Carrick.


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  • 1. At 10:32am on 01 Feb 2009, *iMike-[MC-FC]* wrote:

    Good blog Phil, but how do you think Hargreaves will fit in at England level?

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  • 2. At 10:34am on 01 Feb 2009, Foxinabox wrote:

    Sir Alex would be stupid not to keep tevez on, tevez is like Kuyt in a way: an energetic, fearless workhorse..only tevez can score goals! lol.

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  • 3. At 10:38am on 01 Feb 2009, dhimmi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 10:38am on 01 Feb 2009, giggsgiggsgiggs wrote:

    a bit late with the carrick-recognition phil, he's been superb for us for 2 seasons now - a major reason for our success over that time

    if he had more confidence to get forward and take shots he'd score more and get the recognition he deserves

    like park, it is his lack of goals that mean people don't notice his quality, work-rate and how much he brings the team

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  • 5. At 10:40am on 01 Feb 2009, Fman wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 10:42am on 01 Feb 2009, eric the mighty wrote:

    Carrick and Fletcher, two players who have survived the settling-in and developed into well-tuned team players.

    Their contributions now suggest that one of SAF's greatest managerial qualities is a long-term vision.

    How many teams in the prem stick with players through thick and thin? Too many teams, led by numpty boards and numpty fans, want the moon on a stick - and INSTANTLY.

    SAF has consistently shown that the manager's real value lies in creating a stable, consistent and ambitious development of a whole squad made up of players who have the right mentality.

    It doesn't always work out, Veron - say no more. But the vast majority of successful united players are given time, and the coaching, to deliver their best.

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  • 7. At 10:57am on 01 Feb 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To *iMike-[MC-FC]*...I think we have to see how Hargreaves comes back from his knee problems before we can even consider his England prospects.

    Hargreaves has proved he can cut it at international level, but sadly his United career has been very much stop-start.

    Sir Alex Ferguson believes his problems are now over after his second operation.

    One thing is for certain, if he does get back to his best, both Capello and Ferguson will be very contended men.

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  • 8. At 10:58am on 01 Feb 2009, Andy wrote:

    Carrick is the one of the most important aspects of Manchester United's game.
    His ability to pick out a pass with so much ease is simply stunning sometimes, the ball he provided for Berbatov last week was unbelievable.
    He's hard to get past and offers England manager Fabio a pleasant selection headache when it comes to picking his team.
    I for one would have him in mine!
    As a Crewe Fan i have the luxury (if you can call it that) to be completely neutral on the Premier league, and i think most will agree that we have a very good player in Carrick.
    Looking forward to the WCQ and hope to see him shine.
    Good Blog Phil!

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  • 9. At 10:58am on 01 Feb 2009, JoliVague wrote:

    The simplest way to look at how good Carrick is is to examine the fortunes of the team he left and the team he joined.

    Manchester United - Won 2 Premier Leagues & the Champions League

    Spurs - Borderline relegation fodder

    Coincidence? Yeah sure.

    Carrick's immense, the only stage this season we've looked unconvincing was when he was injured, now he's back pulling the strings and things look good.

    Ok so he's not as overly tenacious as Keane was, but Keane didn't have anything like his range of passes. He does a very nice job protecting the best back line in Europe then does an equally nice job setting up one of the best attacks in Europe (not the best right now but that's purely down to how amazing Barca are playing and all credit to them)

    For United to win the league again, and to even have a hope of retaining the Champions League we need Carrick fully fit and firing on all cylinders. In some respects he's even more important than Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez or Berbatov.

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  • 10. At 10:59am on 01 Feb 2009, Chelsea put me to sleep wrote:

    Carrick and Tevez are Manchester United's most influental players after Ronaldo, Rooney and Vidic - Carrick being influental in the midfield as always, while Tevez displaying tireless performances and chipping in with the odd goal at times. Carrick is at the peak of his career, and ought to be a fixture in the England squad, if not the first eleven. I think he'd be better suited to playing with Lampard and Gerrard than Gareth Barry. As for Owen Hargreaves, he was the first choice defensive midfielder until injuries stepped in. He needs to work on his fitness and repeat his amazing performances (Roma in the Quarterfinals last season, and the final ofcourse!) to get in the England side.

    England have always had an exceptional bunch of players- just that they never had a proper manager who was willing to make decision that would infuriate the fans, but Capello has done just that. Dropping Owen, bringing back Heskey, not guaranteeing Becks a starting spot. It's just the midfield which needs to be sorted out, as well as the goalkeeping department. Green, Foster, Carson, Kirkland - all need a chance.

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  • 11. At 11:02am on 01 Feb 2009, welcome dimitar wrote:

    Always rated carrick and was glad to see him sign. his play would definatley benefit englands dynamics, but can't see fabio putting him in which is a shame for carrick, but from a united point of veiw means he be fresh comin out of international weekends. carrick has been under rated since he signed must not forget though he was our only signin of summer 06 and we won the league that year.
    carrick > any other english midfielder

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  • 12. At 11:04am on 01 Feb 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I agree I have been late to accept Carrick's quality, but he has been excellent on every occasion I have seen him recently. It was a pleasure to watch him operate at close quarters yesterday.

    As for the suggestion from Funkmanwildman that I am "a manc" - not exactly a flattering turn of phrase - then I can inform you that I am not.

    I have praised plenty of players other than Carrick in previous blogs. This does not mean I am, and I quote, "sucking up" to them.

    I make no apologies for praising Carrick, Manchester United or anyone else.

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  • 13. At 11:11am on 01 Feb 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    here in cyprus, we have the oportunity to see every kick of every united game via the middle east satellite networks...

    Carrick has been outstanding this season; his work rate has been outstanding, and his partnerships in midfield with whoever he has been stuck with have all worked. his defensive play is one of the main reasons that we now have the record of "most miserly defence in the EPL ever"!

    Future England captain?

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  • 14. At 11:12am on 01 Feb 2009, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 11:12am on 01 Feb 2009, Bortron wrote:

    Good blog as ever. Carrick deserves more recognition than he's so far had. He's been almost ever-present over the last two and a half seasons, and it's no coincidence that those have been some of our most successful times ever. Carrick has brought a stability to the midfield that was missing in the days of Alan Smith's failed conversion into a midfielder. He has also brushed off the pressure of wearing Roy Keane's number 16 shirt and made it ever bit his own now.

    Surely has to be a better England prospect than Barry?

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  • 16. At 11:13am on 01 Feb 2009, Simba wrote:

    Good job Phil, you just echoed more or less word for word what I was drunkenly slurring at my mate last night, carrick has proven time and time again what a bargain he was, unlike a certain mister Hargreaves, not dissimilar to another Owen, Michael, always out injured, bit bored with them both now.

    Your views on Giggs being player of the year / century? that man is footballing royalty.

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  • 17. At 11:14am on 01 Feb 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    my real surprise yesterday was fellaini; he was a nuisance all over the pitch... defending like a defender, bossing his side in mid-field, hareing it up the sideline and heading the ball in the box.
    If Everton can keep hold of him, then they can do big things again!

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  • 18. At 11:25am on 01 Feb 2009, Desolation_row wrote:

    Excellent blog, nice to see recognition for Carric's excelence over the past few seasons, as a United fan I've been sick and tired of people (including some of our 'fans') moaning about him.

    With regards to Tevez however do you think he's done enough to merit a contract? Personally I can't decide, yes like you said he offers alot of industry, however the second half's against Spurs and Everton prooved to me he really needs Rooney in the side with him to have an impact.

    When Rooney's their they feed of each others energy, chasing lost causes e.t.c and that energy manifests itself in the the team who play a greater urgency. Without Rooney however he tends to be the odd one out. His strike partner Berbatov plays the game at his own pace often slowing attacks only to prduce a wonderful touch which plays someone in. Similarly Carrick is willing to slow and Ronaldo prone to a bit of show boating.

    I feel if he is to convince Ferguson to sign him, he needs to take more chances when they are presented to him and with Rooney back in training this week, Uniteds trip to the in form Hammers (a fixture we always make hard work of) may well be one of his last real chances.

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  • 19. At 11:39am on 01 Feb 2009, 50in50 wrote:

    Good on you, Phill!
    United have been brillient recently - the best in the premier league - and there's nothing wrong with saying it. In fact, to say otherwise, or to ignore United's current preformances, would be journalistic negligence. Just as Liverpool were praised by all at the Beeb at the start of their season, so now are United. unbiased, accurate reporting. Top job!

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  • 20. At 11:42am on 01 Feb 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    Carrick is a fine midfielder, but central midfield is an area where England have lots of good players.

    Carrick has not suddenly 'come of age' just because he won a penalty against Everton yesterday.

    He's been an important player ever since he won the league title with Man Utd in his first season.

    It's just that usually the media like to discuss other players, like Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, or whoever. No one appears to have noticed his solid, stylish performances- well, not until about 3 years later it appears.

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  • 21. At 11:46am on 01 Feb 2009, colhawk86 wrote:

    Good blog Phil, when Utd signed Carrick i did wonder where he was going to fit in but he is suddenly starting to look like a mid fielder to replace Scholes in our team. Have se him live a few times this season including yesterdays game and he was as impressive as always, his passing was sublime and tackling is of standard of a good defensive midfielder. also seems to have found a way to strike the ball with his left foot as he did many times yesterday and came close on all of them. Carrick is now worth (well in these stupid fee times) the money we paid for him and i wouldnt want to lose him any less than Tevez

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  • 22. At 11:51am on 01 Feb 2009, Wireless Enthusiast wrote:

    Thanks for linking to "nirvana"'s Wiki page, Phil. Very useful.

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  • 23. At 11:52am on 01 Feb 2009, Skylynx wrote:

    I've liked the way how Carrick has played while being unnoticed by the majority and quietly gone on to help Man Utd clean up trophy wise since he joined. Its no coincidence how well Utd have done since he joined. I hope now he'll have a run in the England team.

    Now the question is who should make way in the England team for Carrick? Personally I think Gerrard should make way (as IMO he isnt suited to international footie), but I can imagine the uproar of his adoring fans so lets just say drop Barry instead to keep this blog about Carrick and not Gerarrd :).

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  • 24. At 11:53am on 01 Feb 2009, NI_RedDevil wrote:




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  • 25. At 11:54am on 01 Feb 2009, confounder wrote:

    As has been pointed out, it is no coincidence that Man Utd's recent success has coincided with Carricks arrival at Old Trafford. He is a very good player and a great passer of the ball. He does need to score more and his performance under pressure can be questioned but his passing is up there with the best. I think Carrick is more suited to the slower pace of the Champions League and international football then the Premier League.

    Carrick is a thinking mans footballer.

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  • 26. At 11:57am on 01 Feb 2009, respectedFrenchAl wrote:

    Hi Phil, good blog. It's simple and to the point...nice.
    Anyway, do you think that Carrick can become the Scholes of Old for United? There was much to talk and write about when Keano left, who would - or could - replace him. But what aout Scholes' contribution (though i am in no way minimizing Keano's!!!)
    in particul

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  • 27. At 12:00pm on 01 Feb 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I heard a caller to 606 yesterday suggesting Giggs for player of the year - and he has been outstanding.

    He is the model professional and his sheer footballing intelligence has enabled him to re-invent himself away from the wide position where he made his name.

    Giggs gave a brilliant performance against Chelsea recently in central midfield.

    I would not imagine there would be too many complaints if he was named footballer of the year.

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  • 28. At 12:00pm on 01 Feb 2009, RelaxedSteak wrote:

    Carrick has undoubtedly been brilliant since he joined United (I'd mark his MOTM performance against Chelsea as where it started to go right for him).

    The lack of praise he has got, and along with that the lack of England call ups has been shocking.

    Hopefully he starts to get the praise he deserves and can force his way into the England side.

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  • 29. At 12:09pm on 01 Feb 2009, voiceofgod wrote:

    He is a quality player but not 'the complete player' almost as over used word as world class....Steve Gerrard and maybe lampard are the only 'complete' players in the prem..

    he is very good though!!

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  • 30. At 12:14pm on 01 Feb 2009, samredunited4life wrote:

    when we 1st signed carrick i was a little unsure...but watching his game carefully you soon see his qualities, he runs games, never gives the ball away...and this season he has really come into his own, i would go as far as to say he's been our best player so far this season, his passing is probably the best in the world and keeps uniteds game ticking. every ball against everton was spot on no over hit or under hit passes and some of the passes opened everton up with ease. a very underated player he just needs to make more late runs into the box like scholes used to to improve his goal scoring record then i think he will be one of the worlds top midfielders

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  • 31. At 12:30pm on 01 Feb 2009, Face24 wrote:

    A first time contributor and just to say good Blog Phil.

    As a Spurs fan it's no surprise to see Carrick performing well. Carrick was the unsung hero in the side that almost clinched 4th spot in 2006.

    Tottenham really haven't replaced him to be honest. Defensively he can put his foot in and spot a pass and keep play moving all the time.

    The only criticism would be that he doesn't score enough goals but in the current United side and that Tottenham side of 2006 it is/was compensated for by the players around him. If he wasn't performing well the players around him wouldn't.

    He is the answer to the debate of Gerrard or Lampard in the centre for England. Play whichever one is performing best at the time alongside Carrick.

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  • 32. At 12:31pm on 01 Feb 2009, jonesstrikesback wrote:

    Is he really that good? United fans will say yes he is. But take him out of the side and place him elsewhere would he be as effective?
    Case in point - with the potent attacking options United have wouln't anyone make the grade at Old Trafford? Everton can hardly be blamed for the way they set themselves up against United. But was Carrick made to work hard in defence? no. No one was pressuring him. He is good... very. I like watching him play as he makes the game look simple. I just think there might be a bit of work still to do with him. Plus I cant remember him being brilliant in Struggling sides. That's the way the game goes.

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  • 33. At 12:38pm on 01 Feb 2009, GodsSon83 wrote:

    We'll buy Tevez, you couldnt replace him like for like. He was awesome last season, and tried and tested in the EPL. It'd be hard to imagine Man utd emassing a team this special, ever again!!! It's a team with many years left in it. I m going to say it, where witnessing a team of true greatness, which has untold talent, determanation and spirt. when i grow old i will telling my granchildren about this team!!!

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  • 34. At 12:40pm on 01 Feb 2009, Mark Edwards wrote:

    Good blog phil. As a united fan I have been estatic with carrick's form. One thing I have noticed recently is that Carrick seems to have benifited greatly from playing and training along side Paul Scholes, Scholes range of passing has always been the best in the premier league for the past decade and I think Carrick is beginning to show similar qualities? Would you agree?

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  • 35. At 12:45pm on 01 Feb 2009, AndersondaSilva wrote:

    Couldn't we play a 4-5-1 with all three of Carrick, Gerrard, and Lampard? Carrick and Lampard could be the official central midfielders and Gerrard could play off Rooney like he often does with Torres for Liverpool.

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  • 36. At 12:46pm on 01 Feb 2009, Ji-Sung Parks cousin - 19 wrote:

    I think where Carrick has really come into his own this season is breaking up the play of the opposition.

    He reads the game so well that he rarely has to put in a hard tackle, he just intercepts or occasionally sticks a well timed foot out to dispossess a player.

    Class player and a great signing by Sir Alex... he knew excatly what type of player we needed and paid a price that he knew would be justified.

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  • 37. At 12:54pm on 01 Feb 2009, reddimensions wrote:

    good blog ..
    ithink when you talk about the best midfielders in english premier league ..

    you talk about lampard , gerrard , Fabregas but why people forget this amazing play maker .... ijust dont get it...

    Carrick's been one of the greatest buys by SAF .... and he's won the Premier league title twice and Champions League already including the Club World cup trophy and some others notable trophies as well ...

    I believe he's not lampard or gerrard but he is one of those best play makers ....

    hes won the premier league - Gerrard have not
    hes won the champions league - lampard have not .

    so Carrick has done something what gerard and lampard wont ba able to do in their entire career ..... and he's younger than those two ..

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  • 38. At 1:00pm on 01 Feb 2009, ulstermax wrote:

    5. At 10:40am on 01 Feb 2009, Funkmanwildman wrote:
    McNulty, are you a manc? I am sure you are, always sucking up to them, where is a neutral journalist when you need one!

    Yes i agree, Carrick is a quality player but, having a few games does not make him as good as your making him out to be.In fact i believe Ryan Giggs has been more influnencial to man utd in their last few games

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  • 39. At 1:03pm on 01 Feb 2009, nicklhughes07 wrote:

    No 5, Phil is actually a Liverpool-loving Scouser, but writing for the BBC, he must occasionally display some degree of impartiality and is finally achieving it. Carrick is playing fantastically well, United are dominant, hence some praise.

    I have championed Carrick since his time at West Ham, and was disappointed United didn't go for him when Spurs snapped him up for just 3.5million.

    I think one of his greatest assets as a "central" midfield player is his equal ability with either foot. When playing in the middle, the talent to go both ways, without needing that moment to switch to the other foot is incredibly useful.

    If you didn't know which foot he takes his penalties with, it would be very difficult to guess which was his preferred foot. You won't see many other players hit a shot from outside the area, or a driven 60 yard pass on their weaker side. Think of any of the great players of the last 10 years (with Messi the notable exception) and they were all great with both feet. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry,. . .Robin Van Persie has recently stepped up his game with his well documented efforts to improve his "chocolate leg".

    A consideration of those players who could do with being a little more well "balanced" leads me on nicely to a player who is, to his detriment very heavily weighted to one side. . .no, not the left footed legend that is Ryan Giggs. . .the currently much vaunted Carlos Tevez.

    Now don't get me wrong, I like Tevez, but I can't help but feel that he is not worth the mooted 30 million United must pay to keep him. When we could possibly capture Aguero, or Benzema for slightly more than this, Ferguson is right not to let the emotions of the United fans sway his judgment.

    Last night, Tevez worked hard as always; he has an incredible engine, his right foot is like a siege gun, and he is as strong as a bull. However, his first touch is inconsistent, his left foot is poor, he rushes his shots and his passing is by know means penetrative.

    My preferred strike partnership is Berbatov and Rooney, as the former, whilst not being the most explosive of attackers, has the most incredible first touch in world football, looks like he always has time, especially in the tight spaces United are afforded around the edge of a well defended penalty area and is, of course, an exceptional finisher.

    The latter is, in my humble opinion, a superior "version" of Tevez. His acceleration and overall pace are ridiculous for such a strongly built player. His touch and creativity are at a much higher level than that of the Argentine, and he still has the work rate, and passion the United fans love in Tevez.

    Tevez looks like a man trying to keep his place at a club he loves, never mind keep his place in the side as Rooney nears full fitness. His play last night was selfish and several synapses short of a "footballing brain". He looks desperate to score goals, to the detriment of United's play.

    Berbatov and Ronaldo could each have had hat-tricks had Tevez been keeping his options open. Sadly, it wasn't as if he was running with his head down; he knew that they were there and elected not to pass to those in better positions, and the repeated frustration on the faces of two of the most influential players in the United squad should worry a man playing for his future at the club.

    I'm sure it will not have gone unnoticed by Ferguson, and Rooney will be back in the side soon enough.

    I hope he hangs on for Benzema or Aguero in the summer.

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  • 40. At 1:05pm on 01 Feb 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    For me, there are no better passers of the ball than Carrick. He also tackles well and is technically very good on the ball.

    It's not just his ability to place a pass, but his vision and awareness of what's going on around him which make him so good.

    Then again, I always knew he would be. When he moved to United I think my words were 'he'll become one of the most influential midfielders in football'.

    Not meaning to boast though, you understand?!


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  • 41. At 1:22pm on 01 Feb 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    The comparisons with Gerrard and Lampard are invalid.

    Carrick is a deeper kind of midfield player, more of a continental type. A bit like Ray Wilkins or Guardiola were.

    Gerrard and Lampard are the type of box-to-box goalscoring midfielders that England has always produced lots of, and they are ideally suited to the British game. We've always been good at producing this type of midfield player: David Platt, Bryan Robson, Terry McDermott- there are plenty of examples going back through history. They're almost second strikers, in terms of how they impact upon the game and support the strikers.

    I don't know what the answer is for England, but Barry/Gerrard and Barry/Lampard have been good combinations for Capello. Carrick still faces a battle to win a regular place.

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  • 42. At 1:26pm on 01 Feb 2009, mosescruise wrote:


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  • 43. At 1:50pm on 01 Feb 2009, nicklhughes07 wrote:

    Moderators. . .unfortunately I don't proof read my posts and have just noticed an embarrassing error. . .could you please change the last line of paragraph 7 in post No. 39 to "by no means". . .

    It would be good if there was an edit function on our own posts.

    Sorry to waste your time.

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  • 44. At 1:55pm on 01 Feb 2009, nicklhughes07 wrote:

    Thanks guys, great work. . .data entry?

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  • 45. At 1:55pm on 01 Feb 2009, aflickering wrote:

    i've seen every utd game this last couple of seasons and i really wish carrick was as good as a lot of you seem to think. one problem is he gives away several passes for every one he gets through, and sometimes it's totally worth it because that one pass provides a goal, but other times it's incredibly frustrating. if you haven't noticed this you haven't been paying attention; he's one of our worst offenders for giving away the ball.

    second problem is that whilst, yes, he does often dictate the pace, i'm sometimes not so sure that's a good thing. he slows things down and that has never suits manchester united; we've been generally poor this season (yes, we're top, but we wouldn't be if chelsea and co. were firing) precisely because we hardly ever come charging forward like an onrushing tide anymore. that's partially due to teams shutting up shop against us more than ever, but it's also to do with the methodical approach for which carrick is instrumental.

    he's yet to find the kind of completeness or consistency to substantiate comparisons (in quality, not style) with lampard, gerrard, fabregas etc. i know people who would burst out laughing reading some of the praise here. still, i want to end on a positive note; he definitely has the POTENTIAL to be brilliant and i do think he's showing signs of really coming into his own recently.

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  • 46. At 1:57pm on 01 Feb 2009, goodformpeter wrote:

    Carrick has been outstanding since day one for United, ask any match going red, the only reason it has taken this long for him to be recognised in the national media is that he is a player where you have to be at the game to truly appreciate and he doesn't charge around like a headless chicken which is something that bizarrely gets a player recognition in this country.
    The billionaires Gareth Barry.

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  • 47. At 2:06pm on 01 Feb 2009, goodformpeter wrote:


    What absolute nonsense, you've obviously never been to a game in your life and formed your opinions from your armchair and the London based media

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  • 48. At 2:07pm on 01 Feb 2009, billybrag wrote:

    Carrick's greatness lies in Berbatov and Ronaldo's greatness. He is of the same ilk. Silky smooth and cool as you like and a great reader of the game, like Vidic, although being a defender he's not involved in link-up play with the rest.

    Put Carrick in a team without these players, however, and this greatness and fluidity is lost, so you can't come on this message board and say Carrick for England, blah blah blah. It doesn't work that way. Does England have a Ronaldo? NO. Does England have a Berbatov? NO.

    That's my view of it, anyway.


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  • 49. At 2:07pm on 01 Feb 2009, samjazzyy1234 wrote:

    A peak scholes did everything carrick did and scored 15 odd goals a season...

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  • 50. At 2:19pm on 01 Feb 2009, sharkboydave wrote:

    Carrick has to start for England, although Capello has done a good job for England his major fault has been his inexplicable repeated omissions of Carrick up until the beginning of this season.

    In a season where no single player has been head and shoulders above the rest, Michael Carrick has to be a major contender for player of the year.

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  • 51. At 2:19pm on 01 Feb 2009, sabbii wrote:

    Best all-round midfielder no question but some deficiencies. Despite accurate passing ability a lack of shooting prowess and not a box-to-box type player. Probably Englands closest equivalent to Pirlo. England have so many good choices in central midfield we just need them to click. I would have carrick and barry as interchangeable as would gerrard/lampard. If all else fails gerrad right, carrick, lampard central and barry left. We have plenty of good back up as well.

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  • 52. At 2:22pm on 01 Feb 2009, devilish7 wrote:

    Carrick must be in with a shout for player of the year. He has been outstanding, not just this season but since he joined us. Natural successor to Paul Scholes, and he can tackle.

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  • 53. At 2:29pm on 01 Feb 2009, scarolinared wrote:

    Carricks game has undoubtedly developed very positively over the last 2 seasons. He was always a good passer, but initially did not see the fast break option pass. This has improved a lot and his pass to Berbatov in the Spurs game was a classic. His passing, his ability to find space on and off the ball are very similar to Scholes. His tackling is significantly better than Scholes - I thought his defensive covering game yesterday was excellent - but he has not yet developed the goal scoring impact that Scholes had.

    Fergie must look at the way he has developed with a great deal of satisfaction and confidence for the United midfield.

    Now to Tevez, we all know he has a great work rate and that he would love to stay at OT, however on the basis of this season he is not a 30 million pound player. In todays inflated market he may be 20 million, but in truth more like 15 million. I can't remember how much United paid for the 2 year loan, but does anyone know if this amount is offset against any agreed purchase price, or was it just a straight payment for 2 years with 30 million(?) due to buy him outright after the 2 years?

    I cannot imagine any other team paying 30 million for hime, except perhaps City.

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  • 54. At 2:30pm on 01 Feb 2009, I Am Not The Best Paul Scholes Is _Save Our 606_ wrote:

    england team should be..


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  • 55. At 2:36pm on 01 Feb 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    I am a Chelsea fan, but have been a fan of Carrick from when he was at West Ham. I can't see Capello leaving a player of his capabilities out of the Engalnd set up which will make selecting Lampard and Gerrard in the same line-up very difficult to achieve.
    Re views on player of the season though, the one player I always hope is not in Man United's starting eleven is Vidic. For me he is absolutely awsome and whilst defenders rarely get to be player of the year, I would love to see him win it this year.

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  • 56. At 2:43pm on 01 Feb 2009, aflickering wrote:


    i don't think ridiculous ad hom attacks really leave your other arguments with much credibility. what's nonsense is to suggest that television in all cases distorts perceptions to the point when, hey, only people who attend games can see what a player's truly like. in fact there's a case for arguing that you generally have a better, more objective view when watching on TV than you do at the matches. still, for the record, i'm an ex-season ticket holder and i go when i can.

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  • 57. At 2:44pm on 01 Feb 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Carrick has been outstanding, but I do not see him becoming another Scholes, as one poster said.

    Scholes has been a truly special player for United in so many ways - and this is not to decry Carrick.

    I do not believe Carrick will ever have the knack for goals that Scholes has had, but this will not stop him being hugely influential if he maintains his current form.

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  • 58. At 2:46pm on 01 Feb 2009, aflickering wrote:


    if vidic doesn't win player of the year it will be a travesty, methinks.

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  • 59. At 2:50pm on 01 Feb 2009, reddimensions wrote:

    well .....

    if i was a liverpool fan or chelsea fan , im not (thank god im a manutd fan) , iwould be very worried about the future ...

    idont think you can depend all on Gerrard ...... How long will you depend on gerrard .. credit to him he pops up everytime .. so does lampard ... but lampard soon will be in the hstory of chelsea ... Gerrard has lot to play but at sometome he will get fed up that the team always look onto him hen they are in trouble .. some day he wont pop up just like he didnt in the champions league final of 2007 against milan ..

    lampard - yeah quality but old enough and just as saf said chelsea future is very worrying for chelsea themselves .......
    majority of top players are in 30 .........

    united .. rooney , ronaldo , carick , nani , tevez , berba (27 but still not that old), vida, rio , evans , anderson , fletch , welback , fabio and rafael ........ we got young team ... a bright future no doubt ...

    arsenal might transform into a surprise giant team in future .. no one is old there ...

    but what chelsea and liverpool shud think now is to get replacement for those two players .. gerrard (not now but if he doesnt wins the epl - he might leave) and lamps will retire in some 5 years and when u get into 30's you dont perform consistently like scholes .. he scores less goal now ..

    well .. let the kops and blues be worried .. idont care about them ....

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  • 60. At 3:01pm on 01 Feb 2009, robfinn wrote:

    Carrick is awesome, should start for England and Hargreaves should play at right back for England. Both great players!

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  • 61. At 3:13pm on 01 Feb 2009, Shanz wrote:

    At last Carrick's talent is being recognised! I've been a fan of him since his West Ham days, and I even managed to meet him when he visited my school (Forest Gate) with Ashley & Joe Cole. They guy epitomises what passing is all about and no doubt scholes has had a massive influence on his development. Every time a transfer window came up, I used to pray for Utd to snap him up, and thankfully that came true in 2006. If Anderson continues to play a deep role, then Carrick can certainly develop in to a more attacking player like scholes, as he's certainly got the brains and skills to do so. Moreover, he should be an England regular, he's wayyy better than Hargreaves (who i can't stand) and Barry AND Lumplard. Anyways, enough said. Keep up the top work Carrick!!!

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  • 62. At 3:19pm on 01 Feb 2009, Lewis C wrote:

    Other thing about Carrick, his ability to absolutely marmalise the ball when he shoots. I sometimes think that United don't make the most of his ability. For example, free-kicks in difficult positions, why not a simple lay-off to carrick? This is another aspect of Carrick's game that, in my opinion, is not as recognised by fans and pundits alike. Not having a go Phil, don't panic. I follow your blogs with great interest.

    Giggs is a truly remarkable player. I'm only 19, therefore I have fleeting memories of Giggs in his prime. However, due to the sensational medium that is 'YouTube', I can watch some good compilations that, in all honesty, probably doesn't come close to summing him up as a footballer. If he won player of the year at his age, although an achievement, it wouldn't surprise me. That is how good he has been.

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  • 63. At 3:20pm on 01 Feb 2009, RampagingAlbatross wrote:

    I agree that Giggs, Carrick and Vidic are the talismans of Manchester United at the moment. Carrick appears to be becoming the complete player he always had the potential to be, but Vidic has been like having a concrete wall in defense.

    Giggs, however, deserves the most praise. He is an ageing master of the game and even though he's nothing like as fast as he used to be, he is still really quick when he wants to and at his best, probably only Paul Scholes has more of a perception of the match than he does.

    Tevez however has made his name in the absence of Rooney. Neither Tevez nor Rooney have been prolific goal scorers this season, but Rooney tires noticably quicker than Tevez and is nothing like as tenacious. I personally think Sir Alex should buy him simply because Tevez and Rooney as a pair bring a real physical presence to the side that United often lack, and might prove to be more effective at breaking down stubborn defensive sides like Bolton than the more tactical approach that he uses at the moment. Even though Berbatov is marvellous, you can't deny that last season, United were more successful at breaking down defenses, and it was down to their physical presence giving Ronaldo the room to smash it into the net.

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  • 64. At 3:22pm on 01 Feb 2009, samredunited4life wrote:

    im surprised at the dismissal of tevez importance to the team. no he's not worth £30m but in todays world of over inflated prices this is the price we have to pay...for instance look at how much man city paid for robinho...despite money being no object for them. tevez is worth more than robinho so i feel if thats the price to pay we should pay it.

    people forget we would definately have not won the champions league nor the premiership last season without some of tevez vital late goals

    berbatov is technically in a different league to tevez but imo tevez gives far more to the team

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  • 65. At 3:25pm on 01 Feb 2009, The Trawler wrote:


    television is its own worst enemy in many ways, particularly this nonsense of replaying and debating even the most trivial incident time and time again - who cares whether the 50/50 line call on a throw-in went the right way or not? who cares really if the marginal offside out on the flank was right or wrong? who cares if the super slo-mo replay of an obstruction in the centre circle suggests maybe the referee got it wrong? nobody who goes to football matches actually gives a stuff about these things except as an excuse to shout and take the mickey at the time

    watching matches you wouldn't otherwise see is the real beauty of television.

    but 2 dimensions will never ever be a better view of a football match than 3 dimensions

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  • 66. At 3:28pm on 01 Feb 2009, Sirmattsway wrote:

    Basically when Mourinho walked into Chelsea with all that cash to spend on £mega million midfielders Ferguson had Giggs, Keane out with broken foot and Scholes blind in one eye out for ages so had to field O'sheas and Alan Smiths in midfield anyone remember that, I do?

    That was also around the time of the new quadrants next stage of the stadium expansion which like in the past always leaves us tight as we spent about £45m on it. Then we get Carrick and win the league which results in Jose Mouirnho having a fit with the owner and running off for a long holiday before Italy. Then the next year we won the Premier league again and added the Euro CL which again Carrick played loads and loads of games and was one of our best players.

    If Carrick is by just about all Man United fans opinion and the best manager ever in Sir Alex, a first team starter at the biggest club in the world and current champions then why the heck can he not get a regular game for England?

    V Germany in that second string team Carrick was amazing one of the best players as everyone says but as it was a rare chance of football for him come the next friendlies or World cup qualifiers it will be forgotten by most people shame.

    I'm English and would love to see him play regular next to one of Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Hargreaves whoever in the future but if its down to Cappello. Meantime he will continue to play for United and win things.

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  • 67. At 3:30pm on 01 Feb 2009, CheerUpAvramGrant wrote:

    You can judge a person's footballing knowledge by how they rate Carrick. He lacks the goals, full-blooded tackling, red cards and "look at me" style of the Gerrards/Lampards to be given recognition by the tabloids.

    On another point, your article and comments highlight England's wealth of options in central midfield (gerrard, lampard, carrick, hargreaves, barry, jenas, bullard, etc). A similar case can be made for central defence yet we're so short up front and out wide. Why is this?

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  • 68. At 3:35pm on 01 Feb 2009, pagallim wrote:

    I think Carrick is another demonstration that SAF buys potential, no matter what the cost. Not players necessarily operating at their highest level, but what they can be, what they can offer overall,and most importantly how they can fit within both the philosophy of MU (attacking/entertaining) and the existing squad. Doesn't always work of course, because potential is purely that. An individual needs to give commitment to the squad ideal, as SAF inevitably gives commitment to his players. Rarely do ex MU players have a bad word to say about SAF, I believe because he gives loyalty and honesty, and expects it in return. I think it also true that many other PL and other league managers have valued the advice that they've solicited from SAF over the years. SAF shows and expects respect, albeit in an uncompromising way. I must admit, prior to his recent tirade against SAF, I had bracketed Rafa Benitez in the same mould, but it's going to take a very long time before he lives that one down!

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  • 69. At 3:39pm on 01 Feb 2009, Shanz wrote:

    Tevez' importance to Utd was underlined in his first season as his goals and overall contribution was invaluable. He brings more to the table than Berbatov as his tireless running and ability to penetrate defences in brilliant. He can be sometimes frustrating as he doesn't play further up as much as I'd like but I'd be devastated if he was to leave. His partnership with Berba is working just as well as Rooney/Berba. Rooney has a better footballing brain than Tevez, that is probably why he gets the nod ahead of Tevez. However, if Tevez was to leave, I'd love Karim Benzema to be snapped up. He is an out and out striker and that's just what we need. He's got pace in abundance, trickery, and ability to shoot with both foot. He's link up with Rooney/Berba would be unstoppable. I wanted Huntelaar in the summer, but obviously that's not possible anymore as he's gone to Madrid. But let's just hope Tevez stays!!!

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  • 70. At 3:46pm on 01 Feb 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Re comment 59........

    Whilst the current squad at Chelsea has some significant weaknesses and contains some players at, or now just past their peak, it still contains young players like Boswinga, Mikel, Essien, Cole and Cech. There is enough there to re-build from and if Roman decides he is not going to spend anymore, then he will sell Chelsea to someone who will. Like it or not there will always be a buyer for Chelsea, because of the club's glam image and location. So one way or another Chelsea will be back competing toe to toe with United within the next three years. At the moment I concede we are not good enough.

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  • 71. At 4:57pm on 01 Feb 2009, greenfern91 wrote:

    great blog and i think carrick should be ranked above gerrard and lampard as they score a few goals and work hard but carrick has flair and class which england lack at times and gerrard and lampard cant give that hes the new scholes and i hope he carries on playing how he is and gets put up for player of the year

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  • 72. At 5:13pm on 01 Feb 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    Quite a few comments talking about Carrick's lack of goals and him not being a box to box player.

    It's important to remember that Carrick is used in a deeper position by Ferguson.

    If the reins were released from Carrick (not that they should, he's excellent at what he does) I think he could score freely from midfield.

    I also think he should be starting for England. In fact, I think he should be walking into the England side.

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  • 73. At 5:17pm on 01 Feb 2009, Rob80 wrote:

    45. At 1:55pm on 01 Feb 2009, aflickering wrote:
    i've seen every utd game this last couple of seasons and i really wish carrick was as good as a lot of you seem to think. one problem is he gives away several passes for every one he gets through, and sometimes it's totally worth it because that one pass provides a goal, but other times it's incredibly frustrating. if you haven't noticed this you haven't been paying attention; he's one of our worst offenders for giving away the ball.


    True, he gives the ball away some times, but one of the worst offenders???? I don't think so. When he gives the ball away it's often because he's trying to get a ball through the eye of a needle, up to one of the strikers. Most players wouldn't even attempt to do this, and whilst they wouldn't give the ball away, they also wouldn't be giving those strikers the ability to cause damage to the opposition defence. Giggs is also similar in this respect, and I think that's what has frustrated people about him in the last couple of seasons.

    I have been saying for the past couple of seasons that I think Carrick is massively underrated. I also don't think it's any coincidence that we started to win tites again immediately after he joined. The partnership he struck up with Scholes was a joy to behold, those 2 just seem to understand each other so well.

    Carrick is hugely important to us, and IMO is the best midfielder in the country right now. The only thing I'd like to see him add is a few more goals, and yesterday we saw him getting forward more than usual, which pleased me. I'd like to see him taking on long-range shots more often too, he seems to lack confidence in his own ability with this, but has a heck of a strike on him.

    As for Tevez, I think the sticking point is that although he's a very good player he's not worth what we seem to have to pay to sign him. I would love to see him stay, but not at £30m minus whatever we've paid so far.

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  • 74. At 5:20pm on 01 Feb 2009, billybrag wrote:


    .. he slows things down and that has never suits manchester united; we've been generally poor this season (yes, we're top, but we wouldn't be if chelsea and co. were firing) precisely because we hardly ever come charging forward like an onrushing tide anymore. that's partially due to teams shutting up shop against us more than ever, but it's also to do with the methodical approach for which carrick is instrumental..


    Is that right? do you realise that before November (the sticky patch) Carrick only played 90 minutes of football? and since then man u have started to play a lot more attacking, fluid football?

    Another one that doesn't know their football

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  • 75. At 5:35pm on 01 Feb 2009, Thomas Bowen wrote:

    United fan here. I'd be lying if I said that when we signed Carrick I thought we were paying a fair price. Don't get me wrong, he's a cracking player, but at that point in his career he was worth about £12m tops. Since then, as you said, he's matured greatly as a player and is worth another £10m on top of what we paid.

    As for the rest of your article however, you seem to have not been paying much attention over the past 2 seasons. Carrick has been vital for us in midfield. It's not as though he was useless untill recently as you seem to be making out. That said; I was lucky enough to catch the Everton match, and he was outstanding, as he has been of late. If he played like that every week I would take him over Gerrard in an instant.

    As for the Tevez saga, I'm with the lad all the way. At first £32m seemed ridiculous, and I found myself wondering weather I'd rather see Benzema in a red shirt. Then I looked back at his time at the theatre, and at some of his performances over the past few weeks (which have been phenominal given the uncertainty over his future) and made a pretty sharpish U-turn. We would be foolish to let Tevez go. Unfortunately, Sir Alex's love of Benzema may well be the thing that pushes him out of the door. Now I'm wondering if I'm the only United fan who wishes we'd left Berbatov alone and gone in for Benzema this summer; but that's a different kettle of fish all together...

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  • 76. At 5:51pm on 01 Feb 2009, dhimmi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 5:58pm on 01 Feb 2009, ojohnnyboy wrote:

    carrick has been class since we signed him, fletch has been the big bonus for me.

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  • 78. At 6:10pm on 01 Feb 2009, David Seaman's Ponytail wrote:

    carrick is over rated as is hargreaves.

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  • 79. At 6:25pm on 01 Feb 2009, Shanz wrote:

    Phil, any chance of a Blog on Edwin Van der Sar? The man is a legend and another pivotal figure behind United dominance over the past few years. His record-breaking clean sheets deserves praise.

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  • 80. At 6:42pm on 01 Feb 2009, ManUtd Till I Die wrote:

    Good blog Phil, SAF has an eagle eyes when he brought Carrick to Old trafford with intention that he will develope into a big ball player.He has really contributed to ManUnited success lately.However, I would like to make a point clear that Nemanja Vidic is just the key to water tight ManUnited defence of recent times.I don't need to tell anyone about his great qualities among the ManUnited rearguards, his performances in each of every game he plays for ManUnited speaks for itself.In my own opinion, he is the best central defender in England at the moment.You can not even compare Rio,Terry,Carrager, King or anyone with him.I have been a supporter of ManUnited in the last 23 years and watching every EPL matches right from Africa and it's all exciting every week.Phil, Keep the good job going and more greese to your elbows.

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  • 81. At 6:51pm on 01 Feb 2009, fernando999 wrote:

    I've got a sneaky feeling that Mr Ferguson may be looking nervously over his shoulder! Any points dropped is going to spur this Liverpool side on!

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  • 82. At 7:15pm on 01 Feb 2009, gebeeze wrote:

    From what I heard, the actual Carrick transfer was £13million with add-ons. So while the add-ons probably have added up the £18million, they only paid that if the team was doing well with Carrick in the side. I might be wrong, but I'd be interested to hear if anyone knows the actual figure. Either was it was silly of United not to buy him when he was at West Ham, and incidently Berbatov when he was at Leverkusen as they were aware of both players before Spurs stepped in, and they signed some inferior players at the time. By the way, if he was playing in Italy he'd be hailed as one of the best in the world. The one criticism I used to have of him was that he took too long on the ball, but he manages to give himself that extra second he needs on the ball these days.

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  • 83. At 7:40pm on 01 Feb 2009, Jimbo wrote:

    As a West Ham fan I have always been a fan of Carrick but the player that I saw against Everton is a much more complete and intelligent one. For me, this is the most encouraging thing about Carrick; his propensity to improve and build on the solid foundations of being a promising young player. So many young players seem to have had quite a stunted development since showing early signs of talent, but it seems that Carrick is able to keep a level head and keep progressing. He has developed so much that he has gone from an England squad player to a genuine candidate for the central midfield berth. For my money, he has done enough to be included in that position, particularly on his last showing against Germany, a game which has well and truly announced his arrival onto the international stage. Do you genuinely believe that he can warrant a place above the likes of Gerrard/Lampard (if we go on the premise that they can't play together), Barry and, when fit, Hargreaves. In my opinion, if he can continue to improve, it can only be good news for Man Utd and England fans.

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  • 84. At 8:32pm on 01 Feb 2009, chorleyboy wrote:

    Carrick is just another amazing United signing.
    When I look at the jealousy of other clubs, I am amazed at folk who reckon they are real football fans who quite honestly do not have a clue what they are talkng about.
    It has been said again and again, United, for all their luck over 15 years, should have been relegated, they are so lucky, season in, season ,out, I for one have never seen united play well, aong with millions of other so called football fans.
    Lets be honest fans, you are just plain jealous of Manchester United, get a life, and hope that one day, you are as great as the true champions of the world, Manchester United.

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  • 85. At 9:28pm on 01 Feb 2009, CarefreeCoors wrote:

    I'm sorry but I think Carrick is a distinctly average player. He is made to look better than average by the group of superstars that surround him.

    For once McNulty I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you. Surely the ability of a player should not be judged by how many penalties they won / should have won. What a ridiculous thing to say.

    For the record it should be stated that I believe the penalty that was given to United was (again) never a penalty. But I digress.

    I did not see one "glorious raking pass" leave the boot of Carrick. Nor did I see him break up many of Everton's attacks; once again, the splendid United defence was on song.

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  • 86. At 9:50pm on 01 Feb 2009, The Trawler wrote:

    dear fernando999

    you are joking, right?

    there are 15 games to go

    Ferguson will have hardly even looked at the league table yet

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  • 87. At 11:14pm on 01 Feb 2009, CarefreeCoors wrote:

    fernando999 (post #81)

    That's a joke, right? After Benitez' failed attempt to defeat Ferguson with pointless "mind games" and after seeing Liverpool drop points on a regular basis, combined with the current glorious form of United, I hardly think Ferguson is losing any sleep over Liverpool's, or indeed anyone else's title challenge.

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  • 88. At 11:40pm on 01 Feb 2009, I like cats wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 08:42am on 02 Feb 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    The simplest way to look at how good Carrick is is to examine the fortunes of the team he left and the team he joined.

    Manchester United - Won 2 Premier Leagues & the Champions League

    Spurs - Borderline relegation fodder

    Coincidence? Yeah sure.

    Sadly, this is probably true. If spurs still had Carrick I would expect us to still be up around the champions league spots.

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  • 90. At 09:36am on 02 Feb 2009, Monjo wrote:

    Carrick is a very good player. He would definitely offer something different for England - and allow Gerrard the freedom he craves, but cannot have with Lampard.

    Chelsea's problem this year has been the absence of Essien. Essien is the fulcrum of the Chelsea midfield - in the same way Alonso is for Liverpool, Fabregas for Arsenal, and Carrick has become for United.

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  • 91. At 10:10am on 02 Feb 2009, BCChris wrote:

    Lol its funny how everyone is now jumping on the Carrick bandwagon. Carrick has been an incredible player ever since he joined from spurs, and then again saying that, he was an incredibly influencial player at spurs aswell. He reminds me of a young Paul Scholes, controling the tempo of the game, as if he is somehow in charge. But when it comes to picking between Carrick and a fit Hargreaves, then it will be Hargreaves every time for me. He has something that not a lot of players have. And again going back to that WC 06 match Vs Portugal, he was outstanding, absolutely second to none. If we had 11 Hargreaves on the pitch that day, he would have trounced Portugal. Such a shame hes had trouble with injuries, but trust me, in a year or so, theres gonna be another blog saying the same about Hargreaves

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  • 92. At 10:48am on 02 Feb 2009, collie21 wrote:

    when all is said and done come feburary where are the challengers? Liverpool? you are having a laugh!

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  • 93. At 10:59am on 02 Feb 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    finally a blog that highlights thegood form of Man Utd and not just the poor form of Chelsea and Liverpool.

    Carrick Is and always has been awesome, its not exactly a suprise he is getting this praise.

    but to suggest Giggs as player of the year? behave!!! As good as he has been, he only plays every other game at best. There are far more deserving candidates for POY at Utd alone in Carrick & Vidic....and Rooney and Evra, allthough the last 2 havnt played much recently.

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  • 94. At 11:09am on 02 Feb 2009, allejo wrote:

    It's not only Carrick, but Fletcher that this season has clearly benefited from Scholes' influence. Great to see, but Carrick for footballer of the year when Scholes has never won the award would be an insult, to put it mildly.

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  • 95. At 1:31pm on 02 Feb 2009, FusilliJerry wrote:

    Carrick has long been as under-appreciated by the United fans as Tevez has been over-appreciated. Perhaps that balance is starting to change a little.

    Those who equate workrate with effectiveness can shout "Argentina" all they like, but the greatest manager in history knows that relying on zero goals conceded is no more sustainable than relying on one player to score 42, which is why it will be ta ta Tevez and come in Karim.

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  • 96. At 6:49pm on 02 Feb 2009, Bawltea wrote:

    Carrick was brilliant in Spurs. SAF needed someone to hold the ball. The best he had found was Carrick, his first choice was Hargreaves. He’s a great passer. Exceptional in tackling; makes up for his mispasses. He is consistent. He can run a game. But he slows things down. He rarely use a one-touch or one-flick pass. Sometimes this works as it slows down the opponents, which is frustrating. Other times it slows his teammates, the reason team 2007 and 2008 were not as fluid and fast paced as 1999 team. He’s not a box-to-box goalscoring midfielder, and I think he should not try to be one. He’s not Scholes. He is at his best as a holding defensive midfielder because he can orchestrate the game from behind. As a Man Utd fan, the reason I like Carrick is his sometimes brilliant passes which bring results. Carrick long passes have won some crucial games. I think, Carrick should play alongside an attacking midfielder rather than a fellow defensive one.
    England, I think, needs him. Play alongside an attacking midfielder in a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
    Tevez must go. Not because Berbetov is doing exceptionally well. But he is way too costly. For 30 million Sir Alex should have an opportunistic striker, the likes of Nistelrooy. As soon as Rooney’s fit, he’s goona be in the bench. Not worthy to pay 30 m for a player to be a regular substitute.

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  • 97. At 12:00pm on 03 Feb 2009, the_mighty_coop wrote:

    Another quick point about the importance of Carrick, think back to Anfield at the beginning of the season.

    For the first 30 mins United were well in control, Carrick picks up and injury and attempts to play on.

    The game changed at that moment and Liverpool were able to control the game.

    I'm not going to get into the whole Gerrard/Lampard snorefest that always erupts around England selection but I do think Carrick deserves a chance to show what he can do. Fortunately it seems Cappello judges a player on form rather than reputation.

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  • 98. At 1:15pm on 03 Feb 2009, dhimmi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 5:19pm on 03 Feb 2009, dhimmi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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