Unless you’re a Manchester United fan, you must be wondering what the fuss is about their ex-Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick. After all, he hardly ever grabs the headlines within world football and hasn’t done anything special for England.
However, at the Theatre of Dreams, Carrick is the conductor within the midfield and builds a lot of the good play the team to benefit from. It is no wonder that when he was injured in February his loss was noticed. His fellow midfielders, Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger, struggle to combine effectively, and although Ander Herrera did perform well, Louis van Gaal appears to have a vendetta against him. It is no wonder then that without Carrick, the win rate in the aforementioned month dipped as low as 33.3%.
So, with his contract set to expire this summer, and United looking reluctant to offer him a new one, can the man from Wallsend still do it in the Premier League?
Well his experience is priceless, and he is about to enter his 10th year as a United player, which ironically coincides with United’s most fruitful period. Considering he was meant to be the replacement for Roy Keane, he has done a great job. Even now at the considerable age of 34, he still brings a composed, level head to the side, and if United offer him a new contract, you can guarantee that, although he will have a bit role, he will still have a part to play.
Yet if he does leave United, he could still prove useful at another Premier League club. Though he has got no assists or goals in his 22 Premier League games this season, he has started United attacks from the back, and helped out his defence more often than not. Any of the teams that get promoted in the summer would benefit from having Carrick within their midfield, as he knows the league very well and has the experience to teach the young players coming through.
However, we have already seen how purchasing experienced players doesn’t always work. Of course it can work, as Frank Lampard showed at Manchester City, but when Rio Ferdinand went to QPR, the move was forgettable – although there were some extenuating circumstances. With Major League Soccer and the Chinese game growing, it may be worth Carrick attempting to get one last big pay day before he retires.
He has already been pushed out of the England squad because of his age, even though others such as Phil Jagielka have been kept by Roy Hodgson, and considering the success of fellow Ex-West Ham teammate, Lampard, at New York City, as well as Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, and then Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Robbie Keane at LA Galaxy, Carrick could do very well in America.
With the English game becoming more fast paced, Carrick should consider a move to the sunny states. He has the quality to walk into any of those teams and have an effect on the game. But if he does stay in the Premier League, he should be given more respect from Man United, and then end on a high through a testimonial.