Former Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has been singing the praises of Manchester United star Michael Carrick.
Often underrated and under-appreciated, the 33-year-old has been superb since his return from injury, and is now one of the first names on Louis van Gaal’s teamsheet.
A midfielder by trade, Carrick has been deployed at centre-back on occasions by Van Gaal, and the Englishman has taken to his new role like a duck to water.
It is unlikely that the former West Ham United and Tottenham star will be played regularly in defence once Van Gaal has all his defenders fit.
Redknapp believes that Carrick should be played in central midfield ahead of Daley Blind, who is currently injured.
“He is so versatile and experienced and his calming influence is helping the rest of the team,” the 41-year-old wrote in The Daily Mail.
“He is a good, honest player and he doesn’t try to overcomplicate things — all he has is a nasty habit of passing to his own team-mates!
“But it’s not just that he takes the easy option every time. He is always looking to pass it forward and get his attacking players on the ball in dangerous positions.
“When he and Daley Blind are both fit, I would still pick Carrick ahead of the Dutchman, purely because he looks to pass forward more often.”
Blind can also play in defence, but one suspects that Redknapp is speaking about playing Carrick ahead of the Netherlands international in midfield when both players are fit and available.
Former Ajax star Blind himself recently admitted that he plays more sideways passes, but he is bound to improve on his game when he recovers his fitness.
Having splashed out £14m on his Dutch compatriot, Van Gaal may not be too inclined to leave him on the substitutes’ bench, but the recent resurgence of Carrick certainly enhances the 63-year-old’s options in central midfield.