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Can-do Carrick is the centre of attention
Published : 18 Dec 2009 10:23:14
MICHAEL Carrick looks set to play a pivotal role for United over the Christmas period. The midfielder has been a revelation as an emergency centre-back in recent weeks and looks likely to be asked to continue filling that role as Sir Alex Ferguson tries to cope with a crippling injury list. In helping to fill the void left by injuries to Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Gary Neville, Carrick has managed to end 2009 in a more positive fashion after a difficult year. At one point strongly tipped to be named PFA Player of the Year, his form dipped dramatically from January onwards, which was reflected in England boss Fabio Capello not using him in a competitive England match until World Cup qualification was already secured. Ferguson, meanwhile, claimed Carrick was traditionally a slow starter when reasoning away his indifferent form at the beginning of the campaign. But he has been worth his weight in gold in filling in as a makeshift centre-back against West Ham, Wolfsburg, Aston Villa and Wolves this month, as United's rearguard has been ravaged by injury. He is in line to resume that role against Fulham, either alongside Vidic, who is struggling with a calf strain, or Belgium defender Ritchie de Laet. Meanwhile, Ferguson believes Anderson is finally producing the form that once saw him tipped as the next Ronaldinho. Ferguson hailed the Brazilian as the natural successor to Paul Scholes in the long line of world class central midfielders at United. "Midfield is the hardest area for our young players to progress because we have some excellent players operating in that department," he said. "But Anderson has certainly cranked up the contest for places after hitting great form. He took his time - he's only 21 but he has settled and matured. "The competition has not dimmed his self-belief, which is important. He has a Brazilian belief in his own ability and he is going to become a top player. "He is flying at the moment and he certainly wants to play. "In fact, he has a face on him like a bag of tripe when I don't play him." What do you think? Have your say.