Nemanja Matic explains why Michael Carrick is important to Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Nemanja Matic has expressed his enthusiasm at the impending return to action for Michael Carrick at Manchester United, noting that the Englishman will have an important impact this season.

The 35-year-old was named club captain following Wayne Rooney‘s departure in the summer and made his first appearance of the campaign against Burton Albion.

But he hasn’t appeared since then and revealed last month that he underwent a cardiac ablation after suffering from heart pains after the game.

And Matic, speaking to Inside United, noted that the squad would benefit enormously from Carrick’s impending return.

“Michael is very important for this club and I am sure he will help us this season,” he said.

“Him coming back from the injury is very important for the changing room, but he’s also a great player.

“You know everything about him. I don’t need to talk about him because he’s a great player, but I know him as a man too and I know he is a great man. So I am also happy to see him training again.”

The art of La Pausa is often openly reviled in this country. For some reason, the idea of a midfielder purposefully waiting on the ball, moving it out wide and then getting it back until the right option further up the pitch becomes obvious, is counter-productive in the ferocious heat of battle.

However, looking back at the defeat to Manchester City, Carrick’s mastery of La Pausa – originating from former Argentina midfielder Ricardo Bochini – would have been invaluable.

As a collective, United couldn’t hold onto the ball without feeling contained, and this was also the case on an individual level. This is what happens when every player looks to move the ball forward in the same way, seemingly lacking trust in their teammate’s ability to make a run or pass that would catch out the visitors. And in the end, they struggled to put five passes together.

With Carrick, however, the tale would have been different. The Englishman’s style revolves around working the ball carefully and patiently around his midfield zone, encouraging players further forward to find gaps and exploit them.

Xavi is the most high profile purveyor of this style, of course, but Carrick has been quietly making it work in the Premier League for years – most notably during the 2012/13 campaign.

The best way to describe United on Sunday would be frenetic. Never before did it look like they needed the man who makes them tick in midfield.

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