Former Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins has urged Jose Mourinho to start Michael Carrick against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Carrick has found game time hard to come by so far this season under Mourinho but did start in United’s clash against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium last time out.
Speaking to Sky Sports Wilkins admitted he would start Carrick against Arsenal and that he believes the midfielder is still one of the most important players at the club.
“Manchester United cannot afford to let Arsenal win at the weekend. Arsenal will bounce clear, and you can’t be giving teams three-game swings at his stage of the season,” he said.
“For United to finish in the top four they’ve got to beat Arsenal on Saturday, and it’s going to be tough.
“I don’t think United have controlled many games.
“I think with Carrick in the side that’s the only option they have to get some semblance of control and a bit of serenity.
“He sees the game so well, he can hit long passes and if United are going to push up and attack Arsenal you’re going to need that guy, with all his knowledge, to stop counter-attacks.
“I think Michael will have to play for United to have a good chance.”
Despite now at the age of thirty five Carrick remains one of if not the finest midfielder in the Premier League. His ability to split defences wide open with his pinpoint passing combined with his excellent reading of the games makes Carrick a real asset for Mourinho and is one who will undoubtedly become one of the first names on the Portuguese’s team sheet as the season wears on.
With Carrick on the pitch United are a complete different animal. Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini are all fully capable of coming in and doing a job for the side but they do not possess the same quality which Carrick does. When on the ball Carrick’s first instinct is to always move the ball forward, he does not look side wards nor does he look backwards he moves the ball on forward up the field and that is essential if United are to create goal scoring opportunities further up the pitch.
In a game that is likely to be won and lost in the midfield Mourinho is in need of a player who can protect the back four, maintain possession and spread play across the pitch and in Carrick he has a player on his hands who can do just that and should Mourinho decide to start Carrick against the Gunners his inclusion could go a long way to United getting the three points.