Gary Neville outlines a potential replacement for Michael Carrick at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Gary Neville has outlined Bayern Munich’s Xabi Alonso, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and Real Madrid duo Toni Kroos and Luka Modric as potential replacements for Michael Carrick at Manchester United.

The 35-year-old, who signed a one-year extension back in the summer, has morphed into an indispensable asset under Jose Mourinho this season.

A series of sensational performances has led to the club offering Carrick another extension, as made available by a clause on his existing contract.

There will, however, be a time where Carrick has to hang up his boots, and Neville – during one of his informal Twitter Q&A sessions – has suggested a number of potential replacements.

The difficulty that comes with conjuring up a suitable Carrick replacement serves as a testament to the Englishman’s unique brilliance. In a game swarmed by demands for physically imposing, highly energetic midfielders, Carrick’s calm, metronomic style serves as an admirable throwback.

As the late Johann Cruyff once famously said: “You play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you.” Such wisdom seems pertinent to the way Carrick plays, whilst also being relevant when analysing the styles of Busquets, Kroos and Alonso (Modric, for all his brilliance, espouses a different style to Carrick altogether).

All three, just like Carrick, take command of the entire pitch by placing themselves at the axis of proceedings, intelligently moving play forward with inch-perfect passes and subtle movement. And United fans would be delighted to see any of the aforementioned midfielders make their way to Old Trafford in the next year or so.

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