Michael Owen has encouraged Jose Mourinho to offer Michael Carrick an extension on his existing contract following Manchester United’s second leg 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.
The 35-year-old was handed a contract extension by Mourinho upon his arrival to Old Trafford last summer but initially struggled to impose himself on the starting XI.
But it was rumoured that, following a series of important displays at the base of midfield earlier this season, the Portuguese was preparing to offer him another deal that would stretch his Man United career into 2018.
And Owen, speaking on BT Sport, was adamant that Mourinho would benefit hugely from giving the veteran another year at United.
“I don’t think so,” he responded when asked whether United could live without Carrick.
“I think especially with what they’ve got at the moment in there I think they’d be very wise to sign him up for another season at least.
“I think he’s had a reputation over a long period of time as being sideways and passing back a lot but he passes forward an awful lot of the time and as a centre forward or an attacking player you want those midfielders.
“They pass forward, give them the eyes and whip the ball in to the strikers’ feet and he can do it as well as the best of them.”
The fact that Carrick, aged 35, was still making sweeping interceptions and blocks after almost two hours of furious battle with Anderlecht tells you everything about the almost preternatural way in which he dictates himself on the pitch. He is one of the few from that 2008 squad displaying no signs of slowing down.
Keeping him around for next season, therefore, feels somewhat crucial, especially as Mourinho’s men look to ascend to the next level following an encouraging – but far from perfect – first campaign. Having his seamless poise and balance at the base of midfield would undoubtedly help mediate that transition.