By Alex Demarco

When Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager back in May, one of his first orders of business was to tie down Michael Carrick to a new one-year contract.

Fresh from lifting the FA Cup, the former England international showed that he still had a lot to offer, making 43 appearances in the 2015-16 campaign.

He was expected to play a vital role under the Portuguese tactician but has so far featured just four times, despite the Red Devils’ indifferent start to the season.

Paul Pogba, who became the world’s most-expensive player over the summer, has struggled to make a significant impact since his return to Old Trafford, with Mourinho yet to find the right system to accommodate the Frenchman.

Restoring Carrick to the team would offer the perfect solution, with the 35-year-old sitting in front of the back four allowing the former Juventus man to play higher up the pitch.

The veteran midfielder is a calming influence in the middle of the park and is the perfect link between defence and attack, always ready to pick the ball up from deep and play it forward.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man has never been one to out-run or out-muscle his opponent but his intelligent reading of the game means that he doesn’t have to.

Carrick’s interceptions and excellent positional play allow him to neatly nullify any threat before building United’s next attack.

Despite the vast amounts of money spent on new players in the last couple of years, there seems to be a lack of leaders within the side.

The veteran’s experience makes him respected by his team-mates, especially those still at the beginning of their careers, such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, whilst his ability to perform consistently will serve as a reminder of the levels these players are expected to reach.

Mourinho’s men have struggled for consistency up to now, with the manager seemingly unable to find the right combination, especially in midfield.

The former Chelsea manager recently described Carrick as ‘phenomenal’ but is yet to make the most of the veteran’s talents.

If it is consistency Mourinho is after following another week of mixed results, then restoring Carrick to the side is a good place to start.


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