It’s been a long time since we last saw Michael Carrick in a United shirt. The Englishman looks to be finally back and could be on the bench for the trip to West Brom. A lot has changed since he last played when he had to put up with Cleverly or Fletcher next to him last season. The midfield that was so bare and now looks very different with the likes of Herrera and superstar DI Maria running things. Though the new man that could have filled Carrick’s spot is the Dutchman Daley Blind, who is now sitting in the deep role protecting the back four.
The question is will Carrick be able to get back in the side and where will he play? With United not playing in a cup competition till Jan there aren’t many games for Van Gaal to swap and change his side. So it appears that unless there is a drop in form of a player such as Blind is more than likely going to be due to an injury. Carrick could very easily fit straight into the role Blind is playing as that is his best role, but then Blind would be left out who has started very well since signing in August. A big plus with Carrick back though is padding out the squad, as well as it may be a slight negative as it gives Van Gaal a selection dilemma it really helps to give the Dutchman more options.
There’s no doubt it will take Carrick some time to get back up to speed and match fitness but people may have forgotten what an asset he can be. Last season wasn’t his best but the year before he was brilliant, which helped spawn the Carrick song that most United fans have sung at some point. Not being the quickest his ability to read the game has to be good and it really is. One of the very few players that can offer composure in situations when many other wouldn’t, his calmness is a huge help to the side. He also possess a fantastic passing range which he used to full affect two seasons ago with some brilliant assists throughout that season.
An interesting and slightly wild card approach is maybe playing Carrick at centre back, as Van Gaal has always liked a ball playing centre half who can distribute from the back. This would probably concern a few United fans as Carrick has been played there before in times of need when United were short threw injuries. Personally when Phil Jones is back fit he and Rojo need to form a solid defensive partnership that will last the rest of the season. No offence to Carrick but many would agree that he belongs in midfield and may only be called up on at centre back if the injury situation is dire like it has been before.
Van Gaal was quoted this week by saying that no one will walk back into my team and will need to earn it. Michael Carrick will not be except from this, he will need to make a great impression on the Dutchman as his diamond formation is working very well so far. Being 33 though Carrick may expect a more bit part role but he still has plenty to offer Manchester United and Louis van Gaal.