|Carrick has been the run away winner|
Carrick, who scored his first goal since February 2010 in the 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, is for some reason or another, one of the most under-appreciated players at United - and it's completely baffling.
Fans see him as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong, because they think that he isn't of the so-called "United Standard," which is one of the most absurd terms in football. There's no standard for United players, because if they weren't good enough, they wouldn't be playing.
Carrick has done something that only a select few midfielders can do - convert from an attack-minded player to be a holding one. Why did he do this? Simply because he is one of the most unselfish team players at United. You never read about Carrick complaining about a contract, lack of playing time or in the tabloids for doing something unethical or childish.
Carrick gets on with the job and you can trust him to be consistent. Yes, he's not always one of the best players on the field, but that's not what he's there to be. He's there to fill the holes with his movement and break up the play with his fantastic awareness. People often bang on about him passing sideways or backwards, but it keeps the possession and that changes the angle of the attack - which will - and does - help the club. In his position, you don't need people gambling with the ball, because that will put the team up against it even more than they are.
His defending and movement off the ball is probably the most underrated aspect of his game. Fans always watch the ball and never watch after the ball leaves or what players are doing off it. If they did, they would appreciate Carrick. He's constantly making himself as an outlet for a teammate.
Fans will criticize that he's not the player he was at Tottenham or when he first arrived at United, but that's because he changed his position to help the club out in a time of need - and has been successful doing so. People base success of a player on statistics, but that's one of the most foolish things anyone could do, because the intangibles will never show up on a stat sheet. An interception is just as valuable as an assist or a goal, because it stops the other team's momentum and progress.
Michael Carrick's career at Manchester United can be best associated with a fine aged-wine - some people don't appreciate it and it leaves a bitterness in their mouth, meanwhile the others see it as liquid gold.