Date: 14th July 2010 at 3:00pm
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With the likelihood of Man Utd signing fresh faces decreasing with every passing day and every Sir Alex rebuttal it appears it will be left to the current crop to bring in silverware, a task that isn’t beyond them.

Last season a number of factors played a role in Chelsea taking our title back to the Bridge. Injuries as well as players under performing saw finish the season with just the to show for the player’s efforts.

A few players were singled out for lax performances, Brazilian Anderson who’s season was cut short by injury was one, but the main culprit was Michael Carrick. Many felt the midfielder had been a shadow of the player who joined us in 2006 and helped us win the league in his debut season then the league and double the year after. Carrick hadn’t looked at the races for a while and the Champions League quarter final against capped it off when fingers were pointed at him for costly mistakes including allowing Ivica Olic to drag Bayern Munich back into the game with a goal before half time to make it 3-1.

Despite a somewhat lacklustre season, Carrick still went to South Africa and after struggled to impresses eventual World Cup winner highlighted England’s problem:

missed a player like Carrick in the midfield, somebody who knows how to be in the right place at the right time.

Gerrard gains a lot from having a player like Carrick as a partner, somebody who provides the back-up he needs to be free and bring his power to bear decisively in a game.

I think that he could easily fit in the Spanish system because I really like the way he plays. He reads the game so well, he is always ahead of what is going to happen and he is always in the right position. When he gets the ball, he plays it easy and he is available to his team-mates all the time. For me, he has the profile to play for or any of the Spanish teams.

High praise from a quality player and there is a truth to this.

At his best Carrick reads the game and has high quality passing to make him an influential part of any midfield but recently we haven’t seen this from him. He has looked sloppy in possession of the ball, getting caught by the opposition as well as misplacing passes. Dips in form have seen him out of the team but this season provides the chance for  a fresh start.

Carrick will know that a massive improvement is required from him especially having been linked with a move away from the club to Sunderland. He will also know that with aging and Owen Hargreaves again injured his work load and playing time may increase, so a consistent high level of performance will be required from him.

This is a massive season for the club as well as a number of players. Some have a point to prove, others want to show they are worthy of a first team place whilst others just want to show they are fit to wear United’s colours. Carrick could fit in all 3 groups. I feel he has simply fallen on hard times but the difference is that at a club like you can’t afford to do so as it will be highlighted tenfold.

If we do not in fact bring in fresh blood we will need every player to stand up and be counted, especially a player of Carrick’s ability, lets just hope with Alonso’s words ringing in his ears he can get out of this slump.