Bryan Robson feels Manchester United have sorely missed Michael Carrick this season and believes he’s going to be an important player when he makes his full return from injury.
Carrick, 33, has missed the entire season after undergoing ankle surgery but he played his first football with United’s U21s the other week and was subsequently named on the bench against Chelsea.
Captain Marvel knows a thing or two about how to control a midfield and speaking with the Daily Express, he explained why he felt Carrick was so important but raised concerns about throwing him back into the deep end away to Manchester City.
“Michael’s been a big miss to United,” Robson said.
“When he was injured last season he was a big loss to us and again this season.
“He’s an intelligent player who gets into the right areas. He’s about 6ft 2ins and defensively at set plays is very good. He intercepts things very well. That’s why he’s important as well.
“The only thing the manager has to be careful of is, if there are a few players coming back from injury, you don’t want to play too many who are a little bit rusty because it’s a derby game.
“It’s going to be a million miles an hour, loads of passion and pace, so the lads who have been playing week in week out are probably more up to speed with the game.”
Robson is right on both counts.
We’ve said it on more than one occasion but Carrick’s calming presence and natural ability to retain possession are characteristics which United’s midfield have sorely missed this season.
However, it would be a risk for Louis van Gaal to give him his return at the Etihad this weekend as the game is likely to be ferocious from the first whistle.
With Marouane Fellaini in-form, Daley Blind remaining consistent and Ander Herrera returning from injury, Carrick may well not start at the Etihad but if United are in need of somebody to come, slow the game down and give United more control, Carrick is the perfect option for Van Gaal.