Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick was a standout performer in the Red Devils’ 2-0 win against West Ham United on Bank Holiday Monday, helping the hosts break the deadlock and controlling the tempo from deep to further justify his importance to the side at the age of 35.
The England international, who has been a Manchester United player for 10 years, remains as key to their success as he did upon his arrival a decade ago, and looks set to keep his place in the side for the remainder of the season.
Carrick provides defensive protection
Michael Carrick operating at the heart of the midfield has given Manchester United the necessary protection at the back to ensure opposing sides can’t play through the middle of the park. The veteran player doesn’t have the speed or athleticism to barnstorm around the pitch, covering every blade of grass over 90 minutes, but instead positions himself perfectly to intercept through balls and block passes before an attack can transpire.
Against West Ham United, no player in the Manchester United side made more tackles than Carrick (3), and only Ander Herrera (5) made more interceptions (3). Mourinho dropped Carrick into the defence in the second-half as United were controlling possession, and it proved to be a masterstroke of a decision as a fantastic pass from deep by the Englishman led to Manchester United breaking the deadlock.
Composure and flawless passing
The 35-year-old has grown in maturity year after year, having complete trust in his ability despite operating in different roles and being in the eve of his career. Michael Carrick’s long forward passes from deep start the attacks and he played a big part in United’s opener. Carrick sprayed the ball to substitute Marcus Rashford who took on his opposite marker and crossed for Juan Mata to steer the ball into the back of the net.
With Manchester United ahead in the game, Carrick could control the tempo and knock the ball around to leave West Ham chasing shadows – making a total of 104 passes (94% completion ratio). He calmed things down when the hosts were putting pressure onto the players, and orchestrated the midfield from deep – 18 long balls, 14 completed.
His performance was overlooked for the timely impact from the bench of Marcus Rashford but Mourinho will be delighted with Carrick’s showing. After looking subsidiary at the start of the season, the veteran has proven his worth to his new manager and now Manchester United are 1/1 to finish in the top-four of the Premier League this season.
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