The love for Michael Carrick from across English football seems to be dwindling somewhat. The Manchester United man has become a weak link in an ordinary Man United team and has actually been one of the players associated with some of their worst performances this season.
Louis van Gaal’s style of play should suit Carrick’s suave, deep-lying playmaking abilities, but he has been struggling to cope with the new-wave of pressuring football that is dominating the Premier League.
A move this summer could well be on the cards for Carrick and Everton would be the ideal destination. Gareth Barry has previously taken the experienced midfielder role at Goodison Park, but the former Aston Villa man is far from the ideal player physically for modern English football and his clumsy challenges are becoming more frequent. If Roberto Martinez remains as Everton manager, there is no better player to slot in to a team that likes to pass out from the back than Carrick. As the centre-backs split, Everton could feed the ball in to Carrick, who could be used as a launchpad for the team’s attacking build-up play, his passing range being far superior to any current Toffee.
Aided by the presence of Mo Besic and James McCarthy in midfield, Carrick could play a role like Andrea Pirlo did in his final days at Juventus. Seldom making a run into the opposition third, shielding his own defence and working with the support of energetic midfield partners that allow him the freedom to dictate the game from deep. A natural – and experienced – midfielder may well help to sort the defensive calamity that Everton have been for much of this season, too. A player of Carrick’s on-the-ball ability should also enable John Stones to focus far more on his defensive responsibilities, rather than worrying about his own pressures of finding the game-changing 40-yard ping.
Manchester United may well be reluctant to let Carrick go just yet, but Everton, if he moves, are the ideal club for him. Carrick would still be seen as a star in a side of Everton’s stature and the former West Ham man would be welcomed by a fan base that is crying out for serious investment and fundamental change at their club. The balance of the midfield could be worked on and the current options in the centre of the park for Everton would complement Carrick’s game.
It would surely be the end of Barry’s time at Everton if Carrick arrived, unfortunately. Barry, although a shrewd and experienced player, does not have the same vision or technical prowess that Carrick possesses and has often looked out of place in a vibrant Everton team. Besic and McCarthy have their own flaws, but both of them would be ideal midfield partners for Carrick.
Whomever manages Everton next season, Michael Carrick is a player that must be taken under serious consideration. Even now, there are very few players in world football who are more suited to supplying Romelu Lukaku.