Michael Owen: Michael Carrick has to partner Paul Pogba at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen believes Michael Carrick should accompany Paul Pogba in midfield.

Jose Mourinho has struggled to unearth an appropriate role for Pogba since bringing the Frenchman back to Old Trafford in August for a world record £89m fee.

The 53-year-old, after trying various combinations, found the perfect role for Pogba against Manchester City by playing Carrick, alongside Ander Herrera, just in behind the 23-year-old.

Owen, speaking in the wake of Man United’s 2-1 Europa League defeat to Fenerbahce, insisted the Special One needs to utilise the pair on a more frequent basis.

“I said at the start of the season I thought Carrick was the best person not only to play but to compliment Pogba,” he said.

“I just think Michael Carrick is an old head and experienced. He’s a good passer of the ball. He’s happy to do all of the dirty work that Paul Pogba needs.

“I’m just totally baffled how he’s been given so few minutes. He’s started four times and they’ve won all four games. Against Fenerbahce two weeks ago he was the best player by an absolute mile, and it was the best game we’ve seen Pogba play.

“I can’t understand why Carrick has not played more. You go through the alternatives and none of them – in my opinion – are as good as Carrick.”

Owen is not the first to advocate this particular partnership: Jermaine Jenas, Jamie Redknapp, Paul Scholes and even Mourinho have all advocated the pairing of Pogba and Carrick, and for good reason.

After all, Pogba’s success for both club and country has been predicated by the support of a composed, defensively oriented midfielder: Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Blaise Matuidi – these are the players that create a platform for the Frenchman to thrive, and Mourinho ought to follow suit.

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