Sky Sports duo praise Manchester United man Michael Carrick

Phil Thompson and Paul Merson have both praised the midfielder following his display against Tottenham Hotspur and ahead of Liverpool clash.

Sky Sports pundits Paul Merson and Phil Thompson have both praised Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick on Soccer Saturday.

The midfielder returned to action in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, setting up the first goal for Marouane Fellaini and scoring the second with a well placed header.

Although the Belgian was ultimately awarded the man of the match award, many actually felt it was the return of Carrick and his performance that had guided the Red Devils to victory, and Thompson is one of those who believe he was truly the best player on the day.

“Michael Carrick was man of the match,” said Thompson.

“His overall play was absolutely terrific. Got the ball, passed the ball, sometimes sideways but he looks forwards and gets them going in the right direction. He, to me, was the one that made everything work.”

Recent statistics show that the midfielder is more important to Manchester United than many previously realised, with the club having lost just twice in the games he has played this season and losing three without him.

Elsewhere, the stats are also in his favour, with United having scored with greater regularity when Carrick is in the side and conceded more without him as well. Now, former Arsenal forward Merson has echoed the praise of Thompson, adding that it is Carrick’s experience that makes him such a useful asset.

“Carrick is a big player for them,” added Merson.

“He’s got that experience, he sits in front of a young back four that need protection and he keeps the ball, he very rarely gives the ball away. He isn’t going to hit a 60-yard ball, but he just doesn’t give the ball away.”

Carrick will likely have to put his vast experience to good use again on Sunday, with United's next outing taking them to Anfield for a crucial clash with arch-rivals and fellow top-four hopefuls Liverpool.

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