Neville praises 'Guardiola-like' Moyes after Carrick centre back display

Pep Guardiola

His tongue was firmly in his cheek - but it did raise a question. Can Michael Carrick be converted to a central defender?

Have they finally turned a corner on their season? In truth we may just have to wait for the Manchester derby to know for sure on Tuesday night - but overall Manchester United are certainly looking like a thoroughly improved outfit.

They dispatched of West Ham at Upton Park today despite making wholesale changes to the side who defeated Olympiakos in midweek - with two goals, one of which was an absolute wonder strike, from Wayne Rooney.

But at the start of the game United fans probably feared the worst - especially whjen looking at the starting XI.

Michael Carrick at centre back?

David Moyes did little to dispel fears by saying that Carrick and Marouane Fellaini would be sharing the defensive responsibilities - but with injury problems mounting needs must, and Carrick stepped into his uncomfortable second position.

In the past Carrick has struggled with the adaptation of midfielder to defender - however today that was not the case.

He was superb today against a fierce strike force in the form of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan - and was pivotal to their clean sheet.

One person who was very impressed was former United defender Gary Neville.

The Sky Sports pundit and England coach was full of praise for the player - even joking that the move to play him at the back was ‘Pep Guardiola-like’ from David Moyes.

 

Of course Guardiola has often played midfielders in defence. He turned Javier Mascherano into a central defender while the likes of Sergio Busquets and Yaya Toure have also played the role superbly under his tutelage before. Today he played Javi Martinez at the back for Bayern Munich - it is something of a trait in his coaching history.

Who knows? Carrick could make it as a centre back in the future.

He isn’t getting any younger and having his technical proficiencies at the heart of defence can only be a good thing.

Gary Neville might even convince Roy Hodgson to play him there for England.

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