Manchester United fans will have been watching England’s latest encounter with intrigue as no fewer than four Red Devils took centre-stage in the Three Lions’ 1-1 draw against Italy at the Juventus Stadium.
However, it was a largely a night to forget for the Old Trafford faithful, with Wayne Rooney’s struggles in front of goal accompanied by problems further back on the field. Indeed, Michael Carrick’s cameo proved one of few positives in an otherwise drab evening fixture.
They were forced to endure a 43-minute period in which Phil Jones struggled in a holding midfield role, before injury to Chris Smalling saw him pushed back into defence alongside Phil Jagielka.
Carrick replaced his injured teammate just moments before the half time whistle; a switch that the majority of England fans will have appreciated.
His arrival changed the game significantly, with his confidence in possession imperative to England’s assertion of control in central midfield. The visitors maintained a 50.4% share of the ball prior to his involvement, compared to their 66.6% share throughout his time on the field.
|Match||Passing Accuracy||Total Pass||Key Passes||Shots||Dribbles||Interceptions||Tackles||Aerial Won||Mins Played|
|Michael Carrick||Italy vs England||88.4%||90||0||0||0||0||0||0||90|
Onlookers will have grown frustrated with the eagerness of certain players to pass backwards, but for the most-part Carrick assisted his side in moving forward. The 33-year-old completed an impressive 88.4% of his attempted passes.
In truth, this is almost as far as his involvement stretched. He failed to play a single key pass, while he was unable to record a single tackle, interception or clearance. In fact, it was a typical Michael Carrick performance, in which his ability when in possession was enough for him to impress.
Ultimately, his value to Hodgson’s current side was only highlighted by the abysmal first half display of Phil Jones. It takes a player with a certain level of intelligence to play the defensive midfield role as eloquently as the 33-year-old midfielder, as his teammate’s struggles will have proven.
At this present moment in time, it is this ability that makes him indispensable to both Manchester United and England.