Michael Carrick has backed compatriot and team-mate Tom Cleverley to really stake a claim as a United first team player this season. The 23-year-old midfielder has had a hard time of breaking into the senior squad due to injuries holding his progression back but Carrick is sure that he is ready for the big stage.
Speaking to Manutd.com, he said: “He’s got the talent and the ability. We’ve all seen that.
“He’s comfortable playing and dealing with the pressures that come with playing for the club in each game we play. There is no danger about that.” – Michael Carrick
“It’s just about keeping the standards high – we set the standards and the hard part is keeping to that standard consistently.
“There is no magic ingredient for that. It’s just about learning and getting experience and the more games he plays, the better he’ll play.
“He’s a very intelligent and clever footballer. It’s a shame the way his season panned out last year because he started so well.
“He’s got a lot to bring [to midfield], as we all do.”
“That’s one of the good things about our midfielders, we all bring different things when called upon which gives the manager different options which is vital given how many games we’re hoping to play this season.”
I am a strong believer that the best midfield partnership United have is Carrick and Cleverley. Their games are perfectly matched to each other – the pragmatic, sweeping approach of Carrick and the tenacious, attacking and energetic approach of Cleverley compliment the other very well.
Unfortunately, injuries to both players have stopped that from happening with any real consistency. At the start of the 2011/12 season, Cleverley was in fine form but Carrick sat on the sidelines. When Carrick did return, Cleverley then fell foul of a Kevin Davies assault and his season never got back on track.
So far this year, a defensive injury crisis has forced Carrick to cover at centre half and Cleverley has partnered Scholes or Anderson in the midfield, so still they wait for their chance to partner each other.
Our midfield is undoubtedly weak but if they can finally buck the trend of injuries stopping them from playing alongside each other, I really think that Carrick and Cleverley will bring a stability and quality to our midfield that we haven’t had for a while. They may not be the bully type midfielders that some fans are calling out for but they have the talent to play their own way, and play it well.