Why Carrick Deserves To Win PFA Award

… on the BBC Sport website they have listed the six players under the headline: “Carrick on Player of the Year list”.

(Getty)

(Getty)

For United fans, the surprise wasn’t that Carrick is considered one of the best players in the league this season, because we get to see what a difference he makes to us week in week out, but that he’s actually gained some recognition for it. The other five players shortlisted are attacking players, as is usually the case, with goalkeepers, defenders, and midfielders to a certain extent, rarely getting the acclaim they deserve. Over the past 20 years, John Terry, Roy Keane and Paul McGrath are the only players to have won the award who don’t play further up the pitch. The recognition for Carrick is even more surprising because so many people, some United fans included, don’t value his contribution.

This is in contrast to the way people view Robin van Persie, who has been an excellent buy for United, and we’ve seen our club, again, labelled a “one man team”.

If you were to take away his goals you would then be looking at where United would finish in the table if they played with ten men every game. You have to assume that if Van Persie wasn’t playing that someone else would be and whilst they almost certainly wouldn’t have scored allthe goals the Dutchman has, it’s sensible to presume we would have had players who would have scored some of them. Javier Hernandez, for example, has the best goals to minutes on the pitch ratio of any striker in the league this season. If he had been playing instead of Robin, it’s a logical assumption he would have won us a few games too.

Many people have written Wayne Rooney off as having a poor season and, by his standards, he has. But he’s still in the top 10 scorers this season, and only Walcott and Mata have more assists. If he had been played as our number 9, as he did in 2009-2010 when he scored 26 league goals in 32 games, instead of in a supporting role behind the striker and sometimes in midfield, you could assume that he would have a few more goals to his name too.

I won’t be complaining if Van Persie wins the award but for me, Carrick is the one who deserves it. There are some seasons when a player really stands out, like Van Persie last season, Ronaldo in 2008, Henry in 2004 and so on, but this season, thanks to Robin’s two month period without a goal, there hasn’t been an attacking player who has shone throughout the course of the season. Hazard has had his moments of brilliance, Juan Mata has been much more consistent than Hazard but possibly thanks to those around him hasn’t been able to show justhow good he is and has been rotated in and out of the team by Benitez, Suarez has now gone over a month without a goal, as he did just before Christmas etc.

As someone said to me today, Van Persie is the reason why the gap at the top is so big, whereas Carrick is the reason why we’re top.

Squawka confirmed this week that Carrick has passed the ball forward more than any player in the top European leagues this season. Mikel Arteta is the closest player to him, with 150+ fewer forward passes, next is Barcelona’s Xavi (200+ fewer), then Bayern Munich’s Dante (250+ fewer), and then Juve’s Andrea Pirlo (300 fewer). Other Premier League players to feature on the top 10 are Yaya Toure (350 fewer) and Santi Cazorla (400 fewer). This can partly be explained by Carrick’s position on the pitch, with him sitting deeper than the likes of Youre and Cazorla, but that doesn’t change the fact that he plays less safe (sideways/backwards) passes and more of the risky and important forward balls.

I’d like you to think about Manchester United this season without Carrick. Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher have been out for almost its entirety. Tom Cleverley and Anderson’s fitness has been questionable too and their form, particularly the latter, has been very hit and miss. It’s likely that Anderson will be sold this season after failing to prove he’s got what it takes on a consistent level yet again. That leaves us with Ryan Giggs, who has been nothing short of woeful when played in the centre of midfield, with his good games pretty much all coming when he was played out wide. If any of those players had been playing week in week out in Carrick’s position we would more than likely see City winning the league back to back,

Whilst we have good cover for Van Persie’s position, meaning we might have dragged ourselves over the finish line in first without him, we have next to no cover for Carrick’s, which for me means his consistently good performances have made the difference between us (probably) winning the league us not winning it. So if Carrick is the most valuable player for the best team in the league, does that not make him worthy of the PFA Player of the Year award by default? If he makes the difference between a team winning the title or not, does that not make him the best? That is the question up for debate but I don’t imagine the players voting will give it that much thought.

Read the entire article why Carrick should win the PFA Award. 

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