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.
|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|
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.
|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.
|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