It has not been the best of seasons for England midfielder Michael Carrick. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has battled with a range of injuries and has been missed dearly by Manchester United manager David Moyes.
Carrick picked up both a shin and calf injury which ruled him out for 10 days towards the end of October, before missing over six weeks with an achilles tendonitis.
Manchester United’s surge in form over the Christmas period coincided with Carrick’s return as the Red Devils won back-to-back away games at Hull City and Norwich City. However, since then it has been a disaster for United as they have won just once so far in 2014.
Whilst on the pitch during Manchester United’s 2-1 penalty shootout loss to Sunderland, Carrick performed well enough, taking 81 touches, and completing 72 passes with a success rate of 89% - which was far more accurate than his replacement Phil Jones.
The extent of the damage is yet unknown, however David Moyes admitted to the Manchester United official press that it looks to be a twisted ankle, and his substitution didn’t help when the match went to penalties, adding:
"I don't know [at the moment], I think he twisted his ankle."
"It probably wasn't the group of players we would have [ideally] chosen to take penalties,"
"Chicharito would have probably taken a penalty but he was injured. People like Michael Carrick would have been involved if he'd still been on the pitch. We didn't execute our penalties well enough”
Carrick’s accuracy when striking a ball would have been ideal during a penalty shootout which saw two of his England colleagues Welbeck and Jones fail to hit the target.
The midfielder has been ever dependable over the last few years. Controlling the tempo, passing both long and short with incredible accuracy as well as doing his fair share of defensive duties, he has become a permanent fixture in the United starting XI.
Is the injury bad? Well, it’s too early to predict. Shoulld Carrick’s injury turn out to be severe, then it might just persuade Moyes to go out and bring in a much-needed new central midfielder.
image: © Andrea Sartorati