Underrated Tactician – Michael Carrick

There are plenty of players who have been hailed under the category of “Age is only a number”, seasoned veterans who have lost a little steam but never the commitment and flair for the game. Certain individuals do not actually snatch the limelight with goals, assists or even maverick disciplinary issues. The fans might not know their value, however the managers would be sweating if they are unavailable for team selection. Victories are never sealed by goal scorers or dazzling dribblers, it would be unwise to say so.

Manchester United are a dominant force in England over the years, despite being sandwiched between mushrooming money clubs and those fostering fresh raging youngsters to get the job done. The Red Devils have their own astute formula of breaking the bank, holding on to aging key players and always respect the ambitious academy individuals, by molding them into top notch stars. Let’s drill down memory lane, Ryan Giggs tripping down young defenders with his pace till his last season as a player and scoring mercurial goals, whereas Paul Scholes returned from retirement with a local store boots and running the middle of the park with his dexterousness. During their generation, the Premier League has being seen various legendary midfielders such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Makelele, Viera and many more. Back to present, how many of you do think that Michael Carrick is vastly underrated? This could raise your eyebrows or some would be like “oh yes he is a genius”.

The Red Devils are a blend of marquee signings and young-developing players at the moment, but the 33-year old has been with the club for fairly a long time. The England international has seen mixture of beamish plus bored comments from the fans over the years. Since his return from injury, there has been a major difference at the heart of midfield for Louis Van Gaal’s side. Carrick has presented the much needed calmness as well as composure that United lacked this season, neutralizing the chaotic pinball passes into beautiful visionary through balls. Against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, the Carrick ran the show but didn’t grab the headlines. He isn’t the most celebrated player, and it’s understandable that dream team managers require goals and assists to seize points. On the other hand, back to reality soccer, Carrick who has been around with the England senior team since 2001, is the backbone that ties the attack and the defense. Sitting deep, the former Spurs man shields his backline and unleashes his attackers with productive passes.

Recently, England comfortably crashed Lithuania 4-0 in the Euro Qualifiers where wonder-kid Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, skipper Wayne Rooney and Welbeck grabbed the headlines yet Carrick only got the slenderest recognition. Perhaps he needs to get into hard-hitting challenges to get more attention. He out-and-out governed the passage of passes, while having the pace and predatory of the strikers, England effortlessly unlocked Lithuania’s backline at Wembley. For Carrick, it is his time right now, Gerrard and Lampard are only focused on club duties, plus he is the senior among the fresh midfielders of Manchester United.

14 years with the Three Lions, yet only 32 caps, Michael Carrick needs to run the show in the Euro 2016 and ensure the Red Devils qualify for the Champions League this campaign to mount him to a greater echelon.

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