Sir Alex Ferguson believes Michael Carrick holds the key to Manchester United's season.
Although Ferguson confirmed an interest in Robin van Persie in Cape Town earlier this evening, most United fans believe their midfield is most in need of strengthening. Ferguson does not disagree, however, the Scot believes that, in Carrick, he has one of the most effective players in the Premier League.
And with the anticipated reinforcements still to arrive, Ferguson is pinning his hopes on the 31-year-old, saying: "Carrick is the key to it. He denies it but he has always had slow starts (to a season)."
Ferguson added: "By the time he gets to December he starts playing consistently well and he had a really good end to the season last year. If you look at the central midfielders in the Premier League - (Luka) Modric, Yaya Toure and (Steven) Gerrard, depending on where you play him - he can match up against any of them in terms of quality.
"He can read the game and also play in front of the back four. In the modern game you don't need tacklers the way you used to. It's about anticipation and reading the game."
Given those qualities therefore, it is something of a surprise that Carrick still only has 22 England caps to his name. Selected for the last World Cup, he remained on the bench throughout.
It was a dismal experience for the former Tottenham man and is thought to have played some part in him excusing himself from Euro 2012 duty this summer. England manager Roy Hodgson abided by that request despite what turned into a chronic shortage of top-class midfielders.
And, speaking this evening, Carrick avoided completely the question of whether he would make himself available for the Three Lions during the new season.
"I have had as long a rest as I have had in my own career really," said Carrick. "It was seven weeks. At this stage, I feel refreshed and revived. Sometimes you need that break to go again. The enthusiasm, determination, desire and everything is there, especially the way we finished last season.
"In terms of not winning the league, we want to bounce back and start again. That is exactly how I feel. I am determined to start the season well and win trophies again for this club."