Van Gaal rebuilt United’s midfield in the summer with the signings of both Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger back in July and the two additions have seen former Tottenham man Carrick’s opportunities limited somewhat this term.
Carrick was named in the starting line-up for United’s 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, and he played a key role in helping to set up Wayne Rooney for the winning goal in the second period.
Carrick swept a long pass into the path of Jesse Lingard who subsequently laid on a cross to Rooney to head home to level with Denis Law on 237 goals for the club, and Scholes was delighted to see his former teammate back in against the Russians.
Scholes, who retired in 2013 after 718 appearances for the Red Devils, believes that Carrick has been a “big miss” to a ponderous United side this term, but he stated that the former England midfielder’s absence has been solely down to manager Van Gaal.
“I think he’s been a big miss for this Manchester United team,” Scholes told BT Sport. “Carrick is there and I don’t really think Van Gaal liked him that much to be honest with you, because he’s not played him.
“Michael is a player who needs to be playing. He’s not the type to come in for one game and goes out for three games. He’s a player who needs rhythm in his game and Alex Ferguson always said it takes him five or six games to get it going.
“We played with Michael, what a footballer. He can stick a ball anywhere and if they can keep him fit and in the team, I think they’ll be a lot better. It was definitely a better Manchester United performance and whether that was Michael Carrick or the manager’s instructions, we don’t know.”
United’s victory over CSKA puts them on seven points from four games in Group B and victory over Wolfsburg in their next game will secure their place in the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition.
United return to domestic action this weekend when they host West Bromwich Albion on November 7.