Rob’s Red Review: Does Carrick Deserve A New Deal?

He’s just one of those bloody players ain’t he?

In many ways Michael Carrick should have Marmite above his squad number on the back of his Red shirt rather than his own name. Many compare his popularity to the issues Dimitar Berbatov has had in his few years as a United player, but really the only thing that links them is that they have had the fanbases backs well and truly up…and that’s where the similarity ends.

When you sit and chat with fellow Reds the same thing is usually said: ‘Michael Carrick is an immensely talented footballer who can pass the ball beautifully. And for some reason he is now s%£t’

Lets not mince words here.

Alot of people questioned his signing back in the day, but I was not one of them. Carrick is a maestro of a midfielder. He has radar like vision. Can pull a pass off that others just don’t think of playing. His first three years at the club coincided with a glorious run of success, and he had a huge hand in it all…becoming United’s ‘Quarterback’ beside the Ginger Wizard Scholes…always available to Rio and Vida for the simple pass. Always playing the position with precision and class.

And then…………..Rome happened.

As we all know, the Champions League final changed alot of things for United. Not only did Ronnie and Tev Of The Dump skip away into the cash laden sunshine, but Man Utd’s midfielders obtained a sort of personality disorder. On that night Carrick and Anderson were barbecued into charred black bones by Iniesta and Xavi. And as a result those two players went into some sort of long term flux. Anderson had his injuries and his car crashes and his visits to KFC, but has showed this year that he is still on track to becoming a top player.

Carrick on the other hand??…….hmmmmm. Michael has never recaptured his pre-Rome form. Yes he’s had good games, but he has become the classic yo-yo personality in the middle of the pitch for us. Some days confident…other days just plain frightened…and on other days just pure tripe. He has gone from a viable player to break the axis of Gerrard and Lampard in the centre of England’s midfield, to falling behind Jack Wiltshire’s child like body, and even behind Gareth Barry who has lost it. It’s a fall from grace that is quite spectacular for a player who helped serve up three league title in a row and a glorious night in Moscow for us all. But why has this happened?

Carrick’s passing stats have always held firm. But his range of passing is the issue. It’s become malignant. Gone are the beautifully slid balls into the path of a winger or full back bombing forward. And this has been replaced with a ‘oh Scholesy can you do all the great passing for me’ type of passing! Which is fine when Scholes is playing..but not so great when he isn’t. It feels like he is wasting his talent, but there is a factor to be considered here that is out of his hands. And that is how Sir Alex is playing him.

Now we could all write a book on what is wrong with our midfield at the moment. The problem threatens our season..but also reflects badly on individuals. Fergie has chosen to play Carrick in a deeper lying role. The role initially reserved for Owen Hargreaves. If the manager wants to play that system then fair play..but the issue is Michael Carrick is not Owen Hargreaves..and it is as simple as that. He is no longer the quarterback. He is now the water carrier. All that creativity and class he used to ooze has been supressed. His job in many ways has been simplified. But this has just made him less effective. And every bad pass that he makes is blown up like an incendiary device by the fans….and rightfully so! Quality control is important to us.

Is that all a bit harsh on Carrick. Yes..a little. I really don’t like it when the fans ‘hate’ on a player. But for me, things changed the night we lost (but won) against Munich last year. Carrick’s performance that night was criminal. In what was the biggest game of the season….he utterly blew it. From that horrible night, I clearly remember having a conversation with my mate I sit next to at Old Trafford about how I thought Carrick would come good that day, after some terrible form….and oh how I had egg on my face! That night was the straw that broke many a United camels back for the Faithful. It was excruciating. Losing always produces a knee jerk, but this was coming from a distance. I didn’t like to admit it…until that night occured. Everyone can have a bad game…even a very bad game. But bad seasons are not acceptable. Even Juan Sebastian Veron got binned for less.

The problem with Michael Carrick now is one of evolution. Where exactly is United’s midfield going? Are we going to play this pragmatic style forever? Are we going to sit Carrick in front of the back four, to scare the life out of us every time he dawdles on the ball? Personally I don’t think Carrick is a bad player. Far from it. But as we slowly pass into the post Paul Scholes years (this summer, or next) are we truly prepared to carry on as the best team in England?

The answer is no….we are not. But do we have time? A little bit.

The next call is the Manager’s..and with this contract for Carrick, and today Darren Fletcher signing a long term deal, it appears his direction for the club is clear. A midfield is only judged to be great by the sum of it’s parts..and not it’s individuals. Do we expect them to play like Barcelona? Not really. But we do expect one thing: And that’s the ‘United Standard’ to be met. If Carrick can regain what he had before that fateful night in Rome, then he will be well and truly worth this new deal. If he continues to play the way he is…then he will remain the nuisance in the fold.

United fans do not trust Carrick anymore. It is up to him to regain that.

‘He can pass, tackle, head. Michael Carrick is a Red. Gerrard, Lampard, Fabregas..You’re not fit to wipe his @ss’….lets hope he have reason to sign this again soon.

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. “United fans do not trust Carrick anymore. It is up to him to regain that.”

    – I’m not sure what more he can be doing… he’s playing well, fans are just choosing to overlook his changed role in the team. Right now he’s meant to break up play, keep possession and get it wide and he’s doing all those three things well.

  2. People go back to the game in Rome, but what happened after Rome? Ronaldo left. Ronaldo was the perfect foil to bring out the best in Carricks creativity and his first 3 years here he could pick out a long run with the corner of his eye. These days there isnt too much movement between our players, Nani likes stay wide as possible until he receives the ball, Berbatov likes the ball played into feet and fuck knows whats wrong with Rooney these days. I dont think its Carrick that has stopped picking out long creative passes but its the fluidity of our play that has completely changed since Ronaldo left, and someone with that vision will obviously suffer. We sit back alot more in this midfield 3 and Carrick has adapted, and Ferguson has identified his defensinve strengths as a solution to his play until all things are sorted (Next year we might get that froceful drive from a player like Modric or Sneijder etc) People claim all he does is pass side ways but a)he retains the ball, doesnt give it away as those stats show and b) Nani is sideways, our most creative outlet this season. Giving him the ball is not a problem and bringing Nani into the game has got us the majority of our goals this season.

  3. Doron, I would disagree. I think he is distinctly average at the moment, but he’s not the only one! As I’ve mentioned he plays the position, but he is a player who now lacks the confidence he once had. Yep sir Alex is responsible for playing him in a more withdrawn role, but fans current perception comes from watching him play. As it stands I think a large slice of us game going Reds get the fear everytime he gets the ball. Stuff the pass completion stats..the distrust in him stems from the way he..and he on the pitch.

  4. But if he’s not giving the ball away, what’s he doing wrong? What aspect of his play doesn’t give you confidence? Yes stats only show certain things but you can’t ignore the stat that shows him as the most accurate passer in the league let alone the club.

    It’s very well saying he gives a perception of doesn’t instil confidence but why? He’s not giving the ball away, he is breaking up opposition play and he is reliable. He’s not a stand-out player because he does lots of simple things but he does them well. Right now someone who does that job is a requirement of most football teams in the league, someone who quite simply does the simple things well and doesn’t try anything too ambitious….

  5. Carrick is a brilliant player. Been great recently. One of the few “tempo” players outside of Catalonia.
    Totally deserves his deal. The ability to move the ball on super quickly between defence and creative midfield has been the cornerstone of the three recent league wins. He’s not a defensive midfielder, and he’s not a Scholes or Giggs. I wouldnt want him to be either.
    All we need is to sign a Modric-esque Scholes replacement and Fletcher and Carrick will compliment him brilliantly.
    Carrick is too easy a target for the knee-jerk hatemobs that descend on any United performance thats not incredible. Simple fact is that the stats back up the fact he effortlessly changes defence to attack.

  6. Carrick is a brilliant footballer. But my opinion is he has been average on whole for 2 yrs..when he played next to Scholes for those first 3 yrs he was immense. But since Rome he has not been the same player. I hate the excuses we make up for some players with talent but with less than good form. We used to do it with berba..maligned genius and all that when he was playing crap..this year he has proved his proper worth. It proves the point on why he was previously criticized. Carricks in the same bed. Great talent, but not showing it..and makes a deadly rick too often for me. Play him higher up with modric, then maybe we will see the best of him. But if his future is as the defensive lynchpin, then no thanks

  7. How on earth anyone can say Carrick is playing well or has played well for the past 18 months is totally baffling to me. Sideway’s passing is absolutely fine, if your name is Xavi Hernandez that is, and you actually move around the field looking for the ball. Carrick just plays an easy pass and doesn’t show for a return, or gives the ball away. Not to mention the fact that he leaves our back four exposed constantly by being too slow to track back. His best is definitely behind him and I still expect him to leave in the summer, I know he has signed a new contract but so did Phil Neville and Andy Cole a few months before they both left the club.

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