Carrick has been superb in recent weeks and put in a particularly impressive shift at Anfield last weekend.
Along with Ander Herrera, the 33-year-old dominated the middle of the park and nullified the threat of Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson.
According to Higginbotham, Carrick is vital to United’s play as he creates ‘triangles’ with other players.
Speaking about Carrick, Higginbotham said: ”Carrick was so important and it’s a vital job he does. Against Liverpool, Carrick was always there in a triangle with Smalling and Jones. There was no fear of a counter-attack. Coutinho is Liverpool’s most influential player but Carrick was so vital in making sure he didn’t have space between midfield and the forwards.”
The difference in United’s play this season with and without Carrick is huge and van Gaal will be hoping the midfielder comes through the forthcoming international break unscathed.
Fans may have been expecting Carrick to be entering the twilight of his career by now but he is playing better than ever. Although many will want to see him wrapped in cotton wool with England, it is good to see Carrick’s talent recognised by Roy Hodgson.