3 Reasons Manchester United will miss Michael Carrick
This summer, Michael Carrick retired after 12 years of loyal service to Manchester United and it's not hard to imagine the negative void his departure leaves on the club. Carrick is not completely leaving the club of course and will instead move to the back room to become a trusted member of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff.
Though he is not ready to be assistant manager, retaining hold of Carrick's knowledge and experience is undoubtedly a masterstroke by the Portuguese manager, even if some of his other decisions as United boss have been questionable.
United may have gained Carrick as a valuable coach/staff member but they are going to miss him on the pitch. Admittedly in the last couple of years as the legs tired and his appearances became less frequent, his influence on the playing side of things waned but there can be no doubting his commitment to the club and the huge impact he has made in the last 12 years.
Here's 3 reasons why United are going to miss Carrick.
#1 His creativity
When United signed Carrick from Tottenham in 2006, few fans were enthused. Rather like Darren Fletcher and other unsung heroes, it took time for Carrick's influence and more subtle qualities to be appreciated.
Of course part of the reason that United fans were not initially enthusiastic about Carrick was because he was compared unfavourably with his predecessor Roy Keane. However, that was never a wise comparison.
Whereas Keane was more of a snarling, aggressive midfield general, Carrick was a lot less vocal, but equally effective, his qualities were just a lot more understated.
Carrick also suffered from comparisons with Paul Scholes, amid claims that he could not play without Scholes and needed to play alongside him to exert any influence on the game. Again though this was untrue and one only need look at arguably Carrick's best season for United, 2012-13 as proof of that.
By then Scholes rarely figured in the starting line up and Carrick blossomed to be able to play in his own right, rather than in the shadow of his midfield compatriot.
At his best, Carrick could always unlock a defence in a split-second and was an excellent passer and reader of the ball and could create something out of nothing. Particularly in his early years with the club, he also scored a useful number of goals, often from long-range but his creativity was his most defining attribute. Even in his final ever game for United, it was his long range ball which led to the only goal of the game against Watford.
Looking at United's line up at the moment, there is a significant lack of creativity from midfield (at least until Pogba is finally allowed to be set free by Mourinho) and the team badly needs a Michael Carrick in his prime. If only he were 10 years younger.