Gary Lineker hails Michael Carrick's ability as a holding player

Gary Lineker has praised one of Manchester United's key players.

Former England international Gary Lineker has commented on one of Manchester United's star men on his official Twitter account.

United put in a wonderful first-half performance against Liverpool this weekend before ultimately going on to win the match 2-1.

In a game full of incident, Juan Mata scored a brace for United – including a quite superb scissor-kick – while Steven Gerrard was sent off less than minute after coming off the bench and Daniel Sturridge scored for the hosts.

Add to that Simon Mignolet’s late penalty save to deny Wayne Rooney and an altercation between Mario Balotelli and Chris Smalling and it really was an encounter you could not take your eyes off.

But one player unlikely to generate many headlines but always vital to United was shown some gratitude, with Match of the Day host Lineker praising Michael Carrick on Twitter.

“Michael Carrick remains the only natural holding player of excellence available to Roy Hodgson,” Lineker wrote.

It was high praise indeed, even if it was an indictment on the lack of depth in that position in England right now.

But Carrick’s influence should not be understated, and it is no coincidence that when he plays, United rarely lose.

The win for Louis van Gaal’s side means they are now five points clear of their nearest rivals for a fourth-placed finish, and in this form they will now have Arsenal and Manchester City firmly in their sights.

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