Former footballer and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has claimed Michael Carrick is to Manchester United what Andres Iniesta is to Barcelona.
It’s quite the compliment given Iniesta’s stature and success in Spain but it appears Carrick is now only getting the praise for performances and talent that United supporters have seen in him for some time.
While there are limitations to his defensive side of the game, Carrick is at ease when controlling a match and putting his team on the front foot. His former boss Sir Alex Ferguson went as far as to name him as the best English midfielder in the country earlier this year.
At 34, Carrick has been criminally under-used by his national team but Redknapp believes the midfielder could, and should, have a key role at Euro 2016 next summer.
“They may not have the best stats for goals or assists, but they are at the heart of it all,” he said last week.
“It’s the same with Andres Iniesta and Luka Modric — they keep things ticking over, as does Carrick. He makes the passes that lead to the key pass.”
It appears Carrick is getting praise now as his importance to United has only been identified due to time out through injury. Carrick returned from a three month lay-off in November and became vital to an unbeaten run that stretched until January.
His latest return from injury has once again seen United go on a good run of form with five wins in a row including a win at home to Tottenham and a commanding performance at Anfield two weeks ago.
During the international break, Carrick’s introduction against Italy swung the game in England’s favour and United fans may find it funny that it has taken until now for outsiders to realise Carrick’s talent and importance.