Micky Gray: Juan Mata can replace Michael Carrick as a holding midfielder

by Sam Peoples

Michael Carrick‘s latest injury has coincided with a terrible run of form for Manchester United as they don’t have anybody in the squad who can adequately replace him. That wouldn’t be the case if Micky Ward was in charge.

Now working for BT Sport, Ward, who made over 500 appearances a professional footballer, has rightly said that Daley Blind has been able to step into that role at points this season but strangely claimed Juan Mata can also play as a holding midfielder.

Is Ward thinking about the right player here?

There aren’t many players in United’s squad who would be less suited to being a defensive midfielder than Mata. A strong breeze would blow the tricky midfielder over and opposition players would have a field day with him in that role.

There’s a reason Jose Mourinho got rid of Mata and that’s because he felt his defensive weaknesses were too much of a liability.

When played in the No.10 role at United, you can see his frailties but since being moved out onto the right-wing, where he has far less defensive responsibilities, he has been world class.

That being said, maybe Louis van Gaal should play Mata in defensive midfield against Arsenal this weekend…

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