Michael Carrick has insisted that he knew from the very start that Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be a perfect fit at Manchester United, pointing towards his raw speed and superb positional sense.
The Armenian arrived at Old Trafford over the summer for a £27m fee but failed to immediately impose himself on the starting XI, suffering an exile from the first team that lasted nearly three months.
However, ever since his reintroduction during Man United’s 4-0 win over Feyenoord in late November, Mkhitaryan has been an effervescent force at Old Trafford, producing a number of attacking displays at No.10 and out wide.
And Carrick, when asked about his teammate, noted that he could tell that Mourinho had a special player on his hands from day one.
“I saw Mhitaryan for the first time during the pre-season training and I immediately thought he will become a perfect player,” said Carrick.
“I’ve told this to Ashley Young as well. Mkhitaryan uses both feet, he is fast. He chooses a right position on the pitch. I like his playing style.”
There is something tangibly different about the 28-year-old. United have made numerous attacking acquisitions over the years, but none of them figure in the same category as the enigmatic Armenian.
Mkhitaryan brings an air of unpredictability that supporters have rarely seen, even during the post-Fergie era. He is, in many ways, a completely different breed: diminutive and shy but explosive in a strictly non-Premier League way, bringing instead an almost Brazilian influence to Mourinho’s side. Keeping him fit ahead of April’s European exploits will be crucial.