Carrick has been one of the consistent performers for David Moyes this season and there is little doubt that the news he could be missing for up to six weeks is a big blow to the Premier League champions.
Moyes has come to rely heavily on Carrick who is one of the best in the business when it comes to sitting in the heart of United’s midfield, pulling the strings and stepping in to make more interceptions per game than any other player.
The middle of United’s side is going to be stretched heading into an important winter schedule in the Premier League and Champions League but Carrick’s absence could further illustrate United’s need for another midfield man.
Marouane Fellaini was bought at the end of the last transfer window and in many ways he’s a very similar player to the Englishman which will allow him to cover for the 32-year-old.
That opens up a gap on the other side of midfield, which is where the problem is for United and Moyes.
Moyes has a choice over whether to play Tom Cleverley and that more forward and driving role, he could bring Shinji Kagawa inside from the left or he could rotate players like Ryan Giggs and Anderson in that position.
The option United fans will want is for Kagawa to slow into central midfield, pushing on and playing in behind Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in a position where he’s been screaming out to play for United ever since he joined the side.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s reluctance to use him there and now David Moyes’ reluctance to use him there suggests that Moyes will go for the patch up option heading into the January transfer window.
Rotating players in that position next to the holding man is difficult because it threatens to disrupt the flow of the side, which could cause some very scrappy and unattractive performances for United.
Many United fans will point out that the midfield hasn’t looked in full flow throughout the season but the point is that further illustration of something missing in the midfield, will make Moyes more determined to solve the problem this January.
Every single United fan would want a fully fit Carrick in the side but that’s not possible and the side will not have to find a way to deal with his absence over the next six weeks,
If things don’t go well and the side struggles as they have done already this season, the cheque book could come out and that’s a definite positive that Carrick’s current setback creates for the club.
image: © Andrea Sartorati