Ex-Liverpool star - Carrick becomes a liability when United lack confidence

Michael Carrick 2012

Former Liverpool player Stan Collymore has suggested Michael Carrick becomes a passenger when Man United play without confidence.

Former Liverpool and England star Stan Collymore launched into an astonishing attack on Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick during a live Google+ Hangout for Bleacher Report.

Carrick has come in for a little criticism following United’s defeat to Olympiakos, especially for not doing more to stop Joel Campbell’s goal which put United further behind in the Champions League tie.

Collymore has suggested that rather than step up during the difficult times for the club, Carrick has a tendency to go missing.

“When Manchester United are playing without confidence he (Carrick) can almost become a liability because his pace is so poor - I think at European football at this stage you have to go with two holding midfielders,” said Collymore.

It’s an astonishing quote because Carrick has been one of United’s most consistent players in a season where they have really struggled and he’ arguably reads the play better than any other midfielder in the Premier League.

His ability to sit and predict the player has been world class, he cuts off the angles and makes it difficult for opponents to move the ball quickly through United’s defensive third.

PlayerClubPosInterceptionAppsMins
Mile Jedinak Crystal Palace MF 93 26 2,340
Youssuf Mulumbu West Brom MF 82 26 2,146
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 63 19 1,603
Steve Sidwell Fulham MF 60 27 2,280
Tom Huddlestone Hull MF 59 27 2,342

Only two midfielder have made more interceptions in the Premier League this season and Carrick is the only name in the top five from what are considered the traditional ‘bigger’ clubs in England’s top flight.

What United needed the other night was the sort of holding player who can break up the play and be aggressive in the face of intense pressure.

Could Carrick have done more to stop Campbell? Yes, he could have taken him out and taken a yellow card for his trouble but there are other players in the United side who have a greater desire and willingness to launch into tackles.

PlayerClubPosTotal TackleAppsMins
Patrice Evra Man Utd DF 64 26 2,280
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 42 19 1,449
Phil Jones Man Utd DF 40 16 1,342
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 40 23 1,616
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 39 19 1,603

Carrick compensates for his lack of pace through his ability to pick the ball up quickly from other players, moving it onto stars who have more creative and individual flair. No other United player this season has played more accurate passes than Carrick.

NameTeamPosAccurate PassAppsMins
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 1,214 19 1,603
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 935 19 1,449
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 820 22 1,846
Patrice Evra Man Utd DF 809 26 2,280
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 723 23 1,616

Far from being a liability, he’s one of the midfielders United turn to in order to play simple football when the side is under pressure. He had a bad game against Olympiakos, but he wasn’t alone.

image: © marcel sigg

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