Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has encouraged Jose Mourinho to play Michael Carrick alongside Paul Pogba at Manchester United.
The Frenchman signed for a world record £89m fee last month and has notably struggled in the absence of a defensively orientated midfielder alongside him during his opening few weeks at Old Trafford.
Carrick, a fulcrum of the United side last season, is yet to feature in the Premier League under Mourinho, and his last appearance dates back to the 2-1 Community Shield win over Leicester City.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Redknapp insisted playing the Englishman alongside Pogba would help assuage United’s midfield woes.
“Pogba can play in a midfield two but it’s not his position,” he said.
“Playing him like this makes him a £20-30million player, but to get the full £89m-worth he must play further forward.
“There is no doubt United have signed a superb player and he will come good eventually, but Mourinho has got to adapt to him as much as Pogba has got to adapt to United. He’s got to change the system to get the best out of Pogba, otherwise he’ll get the hump, get his agent involved and then the ugly blame game begins.
“Michael Carrick might be the answer now, but not in the long term. He’s been one of the best passers in the world but he’s always been under-appreciated.”
The frenzy surrounding Pogba – and United’s midfield in general – during the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat was nothing short of chaotic: suggestions – or demands, in some cases – flew in from all corners, frantically looking for an answer to this sudden tumult.
And yet, the solution has been quietly placed under United’s nose all along: think of Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Blaise Matuidi – all renowned for the equilibrium and control they bring on the ball, offering security and, in turn, licence for Pogba to rampage forward and inflict damage.
When you realise that Pogba has always thrived alongside this type of player (a deep-lying, assured partner in central midfield), throwing Carrick into the fold seems like the logical solution.