Carrick begun the 2016/17 on the periphery of proceedings, with Mourinho clearly harbouring reservations over the Englishman’s capability to play on a regular basis.
He finally received a Premier League start in early November, producing a superb display at the base of midfield during a 3-1 win over Swansea City, and hasn’t missed a league game since, forming the axis of a wonderfully balanced midfield containing Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.
And according to the Metro‘s Chris Davie, Mourinho consulted the Scot for help over how to effectively deploy the 35-year-old.
Such a development, on reflection, should come as no surprise. Carrick’s role in his current side perfectly mirrors the way he was used during Sir Alex’s victorious final season at Old Trafford, where the Englishman would sit deep, always in space, gathering the redistributing at his own pace, in his own unique, admirably simple yet effective way.
The Scot knew that Carrick’s superb vision and composure could be best utilised at the axis of midfield, with the 35-year-old acting as a medium between defence and attack. And Mourinho, rather wisely, has adopted the game approach to storming effect.