This season it seems that Michael Carrick has been blamed for everything. Rising house prices, the war in Iraq, the conflict in Libya; all Carrick’s fault. Joking apart though Carrick has taken a lot of flak in the past six months, some deserved but a lot unmerited. What then will it take for Carrick to return to a page in the supporters’ collective good book and to find consistently effective form in the heart of United’s midfield?
Never one to set the pulses racing, Carrick does a job and in his first seasons at United, did it very well. However, the common consensus amongst United fans is that he has not been the same since being taken apart by Messrs Andreas Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez in the 2009 Champions League Final. That trauma, along with a change in role in the Reds’ midfield due to the extended absence of Owen Hargreaves, seems to have hampered Carrick’s progress. This was particularly true last season as his confidence seemed sapped and he was left out in favour of Darron Gibson in many of the crucial games at the end of the campaign.
However, Carrick has shown a marked improvement in recent weeks. Maybe the Geordie hasn’t hit the heights of his first couple of seasons in Red but the Carrick of old does seem to be emerging, particularly against Chelsea last Wednesday. At Stamford Bridge last week Carrick was crucial in United’s first win in west London since 2002, playing a huge part in Wayne Rooney’s winning goal and, along with the effervescent Ryan Giggs, effectively marshalling Chelsea’s imposing midfield duo of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien.The midfielder’s passing was also impressive. Already considered one of his strong points, Carrick completed 83 per cent of all of his passes, which is a praise-worthy stat at such a tough venue. The 30-year-old also covered nearly ten kilometres – an extremely good shift only bettered by his central midfield partner Giggs – that puts paid to claims that Carrick is lazy.
Carrick is not a destructive midfielder in the ilk of Hargreaves or Darren Fletcher though, nor is he an out and out attacking midfielder like Anderson or Paul Scholes in his pomp. However, Carrick is exceptional at reading the game. In this season’s Champions League the midfielder has made a total of 35 interceptions, which betters two other players who are of similar ilk – Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel, who has 13, and Real Madrid’s Xavi Alonso, who has 25.
The positional change referred to earlier has involved Carrick being deployed in a deeper role to screen the back four; a position in which Hargreaves excelled in during his first season at Old Trafford. Although billed as a defensive midfielder by many, Carrick seems to excel further up the pitch as a playmaker.
Against Rangers (Diagram 1) Carrick started alongside Paul Scholes in a midfield that gave the Geordie licence to move further forward and influence United’s attacking play. By contrast against Marseille (Diagram 2), starting in a midfield three many of his forward passes were less apparent and many were unsuccessful. In the role Carrick played against Marseille he was expected to ‘get stuck in’ and play the Roy Keane tough-tackling midfield role. In fact, he saw less of the ball thus giving him less influence in United’s attack, although he still completed 43 of an attempted 52 passes.
Tackling is not Carrick’s strong point Hhe’s got a tackle in him yes but many feel he is unwilling to ‘get stuck in’. This could be the case and if Carrick is unsure of his own ability in that area then this will be of detriment to his play. Diagram 3 could add credence to this view.
Another criticism that is often made of Carrick is his in ability to pass forward. However, when Carrick plays in a more forward position – in the centre of the park – he seems to be more willing and confident in his ability to influence the Reds. This can be seen below in Carrick’s passing against Chelsea, compared to that against Marseille (Diagram 4). Although Carrick made more passes against Marseille he had a better success rate against Chelsea, furthermore United had to contain Chelsea for a lot longer than they did Marseille and had possession of the ball more sporadically. Carrick’s use of the ball seems to be more effective when playing in an advanced role.
Interestingly, Sir Alex Ferguson seems to be taking note as Carrick has not played in a midfield three since the game at Stade Velodrome. Carrick has featured in eight of the nine games since the first leg of the last 16 tie and in each he has featured alongside only one midfielder as opposed to two. Not only has Carrick improved but so has the team, Anfield aside.
When Carrick came on at the weekend for the last 15 minutes against Fulham he exuded a confidence that has been lacking at times over the past two seasons. The midfielder popped first time passes around with aplomb and looked very much like the Carrick of old.
Another reason for Carrick’s upsurge in recent form could be the return of Antonio Valencia, which has enabled United to operate in a 4-4-2 formation more often, reverting to the 1994 style of two out-and-out wingers in Valencia and Nani. But stats mean little to some of course. Many supporters have already made their minds up about Carrick and, despite some praise-worthy metrics, have turned their back on the England international.
What is not in doubt: Carrick has recently signed a new three-year deal. Whether you believe this is because of Ferguson’s faith in United’s number 16 – recent performances merit this – or because the Reds are cash strapped and have been forced to offer the 30-year-old a contract that few were expecting, is up to you.
However, Carrick is going to be here for the foreseeable whether fans like it or not. It is hard to believe that Ferguson has signed up a player who he does not believe has the credentials to be the main man in United’s midfield.
Perhaps its time for a clean slate: give Carrick a chance. The faith may well be rewarded.
56 thoughts on “Just blame Carrick”
Nowadays when someone get’s signed it’s usually more indicative of a club’s inclination to sell them rather than keep them.
Carrick needs to have more than a few good games before he restores his dignity in many people’s eyes. The final against Barca still haunts us all.
Far too many times this season Carrick the Friendly Ghost appeared to benevolently float around the midfield and do eff-all throughout a match. I don’t care if he’s played well for a month cuz he played shite for five.
Sigh….another one-sided pro-Carrick article without facing the reality of his contributions. Every time he has a very good game I see such articles, but after every pedestrian performance – only silence. How often has Carrick been fantastic this season? 3 times perhaps? How often has he been absolutely pedestrian and ineffectual while losing numerous duels and giving away the ball cheaply? Many, many time….
Carrick COULD be a great player and games like the one against Chelsea show that. By the same toke, the other matches show us that he doesn’t have the consistent desire to be a great player. He can complete 90% of his passes but amongst the 10% he doesn’t complete are passes which are needlessly given and lead to a dangerous counter attack like against Chelsea in the league
Let’s see what he does tonight!
He’s a Xabi Alonso-style player, but Alonso always plays in a midfield three, so it’s easier for him to do his thing. Carrick is better than he’s given credit for, though obviously I still think we could find better players out there.
alonsos got bollocks tho
Bri likes this
Carrick needs to have more then a few strong high profile performances to turn fans opinion on him being a neat, tidy player who seems to go off the boil in most of the big games.
The truth is the unassuming Geordie just doesn’t seem to have that fire in his game that most United fans expect from a man who wears the #16 shirt. He looked great early in his united career when he was able to spray passes around but far too many of us have seen him go to pieces when he’s pressed heavily and not allowed time on the ball.
Now Chelsea may have let him dictate the game in the first leg, and full credit to him, Carrick was able to show his quality, but it’s far too early to celebrate the return of the man we once believed would be the successor to Scholes.
The fact we have offered him a contract says more about the precarious state of our finances then anything else. Sure, he’s a good squad player, and on his day a very useful player — but is Carrick going to win you games? Is he going to beat the likes of Barca or Madrid by controlling and dominating the midfield?
I think we all know the answer is most likely not.
cant have a go at carrick after the two chelsea games.
He’s had 2 great games this season in an otherwise poor season
He is a top player though and gets too much stick
Carrick is an average club player. SAF needs to get rid off his dead weight and bring in some quality midfielders so we can be in the same class as Barcelona and Real Madrid. We need to step up our game next season. Two world class midfielders and a few world class youngsters for the academy team would be a big boost. Carrick and Park are similar as in these big important games, these two players always play a key role and we end up winning the game. But overall, they both are very inconsistant and thats not good enough at Man United.
His performance recently was great!
Yes his performance recently has been great. But the teams overall performance recently has been much better.
They are pushing for the league title and there has been numerous rumours that Fergie is going to be getting rid of some players and buying quality midfielders. So everyone is stepping up their game. But as I told United fans on another site, the team is at the top with many average players, yet Ancelotti and Mancini have spent over 300 million of the owners money on players and have nothing to show, no trophies at the end of the season. Of course the owners will fire both of them for wasting so much of the owners money and no success. They are both great managers but stupid. They should have told the owners in the beginning, give me four years to build a team and did what Arsene Wenger is doing and build a team from quality youngsters for the future. But they blew too much money, they will be fired. Credit to SAF for the job he has done so far this season. The best manager for United when SAF retires is Pepe Guardiola. He has stated recently that he would be interested in the United job. He is young, 41 years old, will give you twenty years plus. Mourinho will be here today, gone tomorrow. But yes, Carrick has shown some good quality but consistancy is the key.
OMFG! I actually agree 100% with a Herbie post!
I don’t know, does Alonso put a real shift in? He’s always had an out-and-out destroyer beside him, like Mascherano or Khedira. Carrick’s had some good performances earlier this season too, like against Man City at the Council House, he was immense then too.
He gets slaughtered for the CL final against Barca, but it’s not like the rest of our team covered themselves in glory that night either. Vidic got fucking humiliated with that first goal, for example. I think Carrick is widely underestimated. The past couple of seasons he hasn’t been as good as before, but overall he has definitely contributed to our success since his signing. His job is not to be Mr. Reducer, especially because since he’s usually positioned in front of the back four, that would give the opposition plenty of free kicks in prime goal-scoring territory.
Look, some players need the confidence of their manger and play regular first team football to be at the top of their game. Carrick is one of those players. He is not an all action midfielder, he is more cultured and the amount of intersections and how he manages to nick the ball away from opponents doesn’t get registered with most united fans. If he was French or playing at Arsenal, I guess fans opinions might differ. Jack wilshire is very similar to Carrick, but gets all the plaudits because of their style of play. He will never be a Keane, Robson, Hargreaves or even Fletcher type.
On his day, he can be as distructive as Scholes, minus the liability of clumsy tackles, which is usually a disaster waiting to happen. I am the biggest fan of the Ginger Ninja, but he doesn’t know how to tackle. just like scholsey, I think Carrick should start scoring goals from midfield to endear to the fans. He has accuracy and power in his shots, but I think he is lacking in Confidence. Maybe, if he gets a Hargreaves type player behind him, then he can be very good I an advanced role. Playing as a DM is obviosly hampering some of his attacking instincts.
At the end of the day, he is doing a good job at what he is being asked to do. He is ahead of Ando and Gibson in my books. Only scholsey and fletch are better propositions at united. As for Carrick signing a contract extension, why do an Arsenal and give away your experienced and settled players and bring in some one from outside who may or may not fit in. After all SAF knows the best.
Carrick is a complementary player. A good squad man, but his performance vastly depends on how good the team is around him.
Two good games ffs
You’ll always get your “red tinted spec” brigade that would fight a players corner just cozz they play for United. If Michael Owen had come on last night and scored the winner, cue the “he’s still got it, he looks after himself you know”, blah! blah!
Carrick is a bread and butter midfielder who at times does a job, no more, just enough.
Then there are other times (more often than not) when he appears anonymous, and way off the pace. Yeh! he can run around a bit, but for me, the odd decent champagne pass does’nt warrant what is needed.
It does’nt change the fact that on the whole we have been miserable most of the time this season, and having an easy F.A. cup run, and a champions league group that the Pig ‘n’ Whistle from Oswaltwistle could have progressed through, and a premiere league that no fucker else wanted, we should’nt get too carried away.
There is plenty of space to sprinkle in some genuine quality next season. The Silva twins look decent, Hernandez, Rooney and Berbatov look the part up top. The defence looks ok though i’m not sure how often we’ll see Ferdinand. So its our midfield that needs sorting. A talismanic figure who can drag us through the games where its not happening for us. Obviously they’re hard to identify but surely our scouting network can dig one or two up who we can have a look at. Too often over the last couple of seasons has our team cried out for some invention or craft.
havent really had an easy fa cup run.
the rest of that we already know.. yawn,
someone did ask rio who the most underrated player in the counrty was a few months ago and he said it was carrick hands down.
havent really had an easy fa cup run. Yes we have.
the rest of that we already know.. yawn, Thats sorted then.
someone did ask rio who the most underrated player in the counrty was a few months ago and he said it was Carrick. Well he would’nt say it was Lee fuckin Bowyer would he?
So Herbie who would you buy to replace Carrick?
A lot of quality players have good things to say about Carrick. It’s not so long ago that Rio himself was criticised by a lot of muppets for being “lazy”; too many supporters and even pundits are only impressed by obvious huffing and puffing and powerful tackling, even though those things are often necessitated by a player being out of position or doing the wrong thing in the first place.
The only people that big up Carrick are team mates and the occasional telly face… and what do you expect team mates to say?… nah, he’s rubbish?
Come on… let’s have bit of perspective, eh… he’s a decent enough player, but who here doesn’t think United deserves better?
I think he’s a good player well worth having in the squad. But he’s not the be-all and end-all. Over the past few seasons both Carrick and Fletcher have frequently been asked to performed functions they’re not best suited for, and then catch a lot of flak for it. If Hargo wasn’t a cripple, if Scholes wasn’t a fogey, if Anderson was more mature, then Fergie would be using Carrick and Fletch more judiciously, matching them with the right partners and asking them to do the jobs they’re best at.
So no Carrick’s not a world beater, but we’d be stupid to get rid of him. I’m not surprised his confidence has taken a knock in the past few seasons, since he’s been asked to be both Hargreaves and Alonso at the same time, and when he doesn’t live up to that standard week-in week-out, everyone gets on his back.
So many of the criticisms here are just stupid. Like “so what if he completes 90% of his passes, all his passes are sideways and when he does miss a pass it leads to a counterattack”. Yeah no shit, he plays deep, so if he loses possession (as this weekend’s game shows perfectly) it’s automatically in a dangerous position. That’s why he plays the safe sideways ball ffs, because to do otherwise would be suicidal 90% of the time.
His losing possession against City against perfectly shows the double standard he’s held to: yes he made a mistake, but he made the mistake because he was put in a bad situation by first Rio and the VDS fucking up, but no one mentions that. If it was 5 years ago of course, everyone would be saying that Rio’s a useless lazy dozy bastard who never tackles, but then the average supporter figured out what Rio actually does, so maybe eventually they’ll figure out what Carrick does before he retires.
Carrick’s not a patch on Xavi, but I reckon he’s more or less as good as Xabi Alonso, and since he joined us he’s never had the benefit of being accompanied by quality out-and-out attacking and defensive midfielders like Yaya Toure, Mascherano, Ozil, Gerrard etc that those players have. If he had, his contribution would be much more widely recognised.
Our midfield problem is not Fletcher or Carrick — there are better players out there, but they’re both very good players in their own ways. The midfield problem is that Fergie splashed out the cash on Hargreaves and Anderson, but neither has (yet in Ando’s case) lived up to expectations, so we expect Carrick and Fletcher to try to do all the jobs those players were bought for. It’s no coincidence that Carrick did so well for us his first two seasons, when he had a younger Scholes and then Hargo and Andro’s useful first seasons in there to work with him. Just maybe Carrick’s “dip in form” since is tied to the fact that Hargo never played again, Scholes has gotten progressively slower, and Ando has not played nearly as much?
u really need to stop looking in the mirror and posting stuff about yourself
aunty just will not love you anymore
Justin thought he played well the other day.
No he did’nt, he was fuckin bobbins.
bobbins…omglolsaurus….. Where the fuck did you dig that expression out of the ground..under a Roman settlement?
its a well known term
Bman has hit the nail on the head here. You look at our midfield and its a case of quantity and not quality.
Fletcher (no 2) is a good complimentary starter midfielder, Anderson (no 4) and Carrick (no 3) are good back ups. Gibson is an impact sub/squad player/project (no 5).
The main problem is Hargreaves injury problems and Scholes age. If we released Hargreaves and Scholes retired I think we would see a quality midfielder bought in. Until then we are stuck in no mans land.
Would Anderson, Carrick,Fletcher get regular games at barca, madrid, arsenal, chelsea, ciddy, dippers, spurs etc?
Its about time we showed some bollocks in that fuckin transfer market for serious quality, not cast offs from fringe clubs.
well there is no reason we shouldnt bring in a high quality player in the summer. letting go of hargreaves and scholes will free up over 200k/wk in the wage bill. surely we get bring someone decent on that money.
well i think its a given that hargreaves and scholes will not be at OT in the new season; SAF knows we need a decent midfielder or 2 and the yanks will need to open the cheque book otherwise it will only be more of the same next season. I really can’t work out why our midfield players look so out of sorts this season – one i can understand having a poor season but collectively under par has been the usual case and we are talking about pretty decent players on their day who have really lost the consistency they had in the past ie carrick and fletcher. Anderson has never done it for me and really needs to look at himself this summer but Gibson needs to leave as he really can be a passenger most games. If rooney stays, then he can be the binding force if placed in the middle – his performances in the latter half of the season really have been thrilling.
Aye, it goes back a long way.
It means for those who don’t know it…Rubbish or Rotten
If you look at all those midfielder players all of them are playing below their best for one reason or another. I think Fergie must have been hoping that at least one of them will show their true form!
On paper we have 1 of the best midfielders Eng has produced, 2 current England internationals, a Brazilian international, the Scottish captain and an Irish international. Surely that should be enough.
Carrick is fine. He is at his worst when playing alongside Paul Scholes. He just hides and gives everything to the wee man.
I have lost faith in Anderson. If we can get Carrick to play alongside Fletcher more often with Giggs or Park thrown in the odd time we should be ok. For the future, a midfield trio of Carrick, Fletcher and Rooney will be very good.
Fletcher and Carrick are clearly not good enough! Did you not read my post? Who the fuck is frightened of playing aginst them? no cunt. Why is it always some fucker else’s fault when Carrick and Fletcher don’t play well. Take your red spec’s off Cal, they’re ineffective, negative, and are only there cozz they’re part of Fergies little yes men club. Thats not a good enough excuse as to why they are getting games. Selection should be based on ability, intelligence, bottle, form, and a desire to win. How the hell they still get regular games when they rarely, if ever, meet any of these criteria is unbelievable. I understand why they “have” to play, and thats cozz we’ve fuck all else, but thats what should have been sorted 2 seasons ago. Carrick and Fletcher will never be part of a european power house United. And they’re not on their own to be brutally honest. Take away Rooney, Hernandez, Vidic, Evra, the twins. The others are basically stocking fillers, and thats not good enough for United.
75.000 every home game, and half the time what are they seeing? Carrick, Fletcher, O’shea, Gibson, Anderson, Jimmy Spark running round a lot, Nani rolling round a lot, all basically waiting for Rooney to pull them out the shite.
If we don’t move in the market, we will implode. Simple as.
hes bang on there
I have ignored for a while but you keep banging on and on. You are truly out of your mind. What red specs are you people talking about. We are so frustrating are United fans that we tend not to see things clearly – I guess that is why we are football fans. I look at Barcelona and I see Mascherano and Busquets. You are telling me that if you take those two out of the Barca set-up they will be so good or look as good as they look alongside Xavi and Iniesta? They certainly will not. If Michael Carrick was at Barcelona you all will be wanking over him. Darren Fletcher is as good as 75% of other modern day midfielders. He has the engine, his passing is adequate and he scores goals. he can also play in a variety of positions.
They do not make midfielders like Robson, Ince, Keane and Butt anymore. THEY SIMPLY do not. Gerrard and Essien are the last of that breed. Yes, Carrick seems very brittle but that is so very apparent because he plays in the PL. If he played in Spain or Italy that will not be obvious. Football is a team game Ted if you have not noticed. Therefore, other members of a team can affect a player’s performance negatively or positively. We have seen and know that Rooney is best with a proper centre-forward instead of the irritating Berbatov. Anderson is also the only midfielder we have who can drive with the ball at his feet so is useless alongside Scholes – practically all except Fletcher are to be honest.
How do you know from your sitting room if other players are afraid of playing against our midfield? How can you know that? He had a 92% pass completion against City in the first half and 74% in the second half. He made ONE error and that led to the goal. We could easily have recovered and won that match had “youknowwho” not dropped us in it with the red-card. Give Carrick a break people and if you will not I will ask you to make more constructive analyses of his games that harping back to who we used to have or what kind we need.
What absolute tosh! There you go again with your “If Carrick was at Barca” blah fuckin yawn! Carrick is as likely to ever play for Barca as Alf is to manage a badge making factory. Cal! He would’nt get in the fuckin team, and there’s a perfectly good footballing reason for that, its plain and simple…..”HE AIN’T FUCKIN GOOD ENOUGH”.
The prem has no place for pretty passers with no bollocks who just want to “get by”.
We are United, and we’re a lot better and deserve better than the likes of him and Fletcher and Anderson. Thats not knee jerk, thats fact.
If you want to talk stats brother, lets look at Carricks tackles, interceptions, goals, assists, they’re fuckin awful. The passing the fuckin thing sideways and backwards stats don’t fool any fucker. Well, you being the exception.
How do you know they dont make Robbo’s and Keanes anymore? How can you know that?
Have fun Ted.
Mascherano looked ok all them years over at Liverpool. He captained Argentina as well, I don’t know but it suggests to me he is a good footballer.
Busquests is a horrible creature but a very good player, with excellent touch and awareness at 23 that Carrick doesn’t have. He kept the excellent YaYa Toure out of the Barca team and that says a lot. I would have agreed with you 12 months but I have come round full circle on Busquests
Never mind Barca we are playing Everton tommorrow and I think it would be stretching it to put him in the Everton midfield.
You can’t sell us on how good Carrick apparantly is as he has been v poor the last two seasons and you justify it on blaming Scholes for receiving the ball off Carrick.
lol they certainly would not. You might find a space at the Dippers thats it. Tell me who would get a game.
That’s just factually wrong. Carrick and Fletcher have been key players in a United team whose Champions League record in recent years has been: semi-finalists, champions, finalists, quarter finalists, semi-finalists (and possibly finalists). Show me a better record.
Fletcher is better than Mascherano, Khedira, Huddlestone, Lucas, Meireles, Diaby , Song, blah blah. He’s not had a good season, but there’s been some mysterious medical issue with him.
Carrick wouldn’t start at Barca because he’s too much like Xavi but not as good, but he’d do nicely with most of those other teams that regularly play three in midfield.
Anderson, I don’t know, I grant you.
The fact is that we’ve already seen Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson etc. beat all of those teams (City, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barca etc.) on numerous occasions over the past few years. So they can’t be that bad can they?
Jesus Bernie… you make it sound like they were the reason we won.
We won, because we had the better defense and Rooney
JUST LIKE YOUR POX RIDDEN FORESKIN THEN HIMMLER
We have won inspite of them. Even when beating City their midfield was far and out on top.
Fletcher is a good player he hasn’t been playing enough this year but I don’t think he is better then Khedira nor Huddlestone who does not always start for Spurs. He does not even come close to either VDV or Modric. Diaby never starts for Arsenal, Song is not sure of his place either. Mascherano hasn’t played many games either particularly in central midfield so you really are comparing Manchester United’s best midfielder with sub players at other clubs.
Carrick would not get in any of those teams. The similarity with Xavi extends to the fact that they are both footballers. Xavi plays a different game to Carrick and is in another stratosphere ability wise.
tbf fletcher is better for united than carrick is
if i had a choice based on our current lot fletcher and carrick would start
ideally i’d like essien and sneijder…but i’d also love to be 14 stone again and fast as fuck…
not going to happen
btw cunts…when iwas 14 stone im skinny not a poxy aids ridden 10 stone faggot…i had physique..well did have …..ffs, i was like a sumo with anorexia
Whichever you look at it we have alot of back up centre mids and not many quality starters. Hargreaves and Fletcher would be a quality midfield but of course Hargreaves is always injured.
Fergie has tried to give Hargreaves a chance this season to come back, but its pretty clear that he just isn’t going to be same again. The same for Scholes. If Hargo and Scholes both go in the summer then we might actually get a quality midfielder in.
Oh I definitely agree that our defence and attack has been stronger than central midfield for good few years now, and I don’t deny that we couldn’t improve the midfield or that it’s been shown up a good few times (most notoriously in Rome against Barca). I suppose all I’m trying to say is that our midfield is still better than it’s given credit for — we simply couldn’t be as successful as we are if our midfield wasn’t fairly comparable to other top teams’. I.E. our midfield is a top 5 or 6 midfield, but we deserve a top 1 or 2 midfield.
The other thing I’m trying to say is that Carrick and Fletcher are valuable players, but we need others who offer different options. That way we could pair Carrick and Fletcher with players who complement them, and not have to use them in situations they’re not well suited for. I reckon a lot of people would be saying even players as good as Xavi and Xabi Alonso were crap if they were playing in a midfield two and expected to be the main defensive barrier. Anyone recall seeing either tackle very much? Me neither.
Again! the reason why you dont see them tackling a lot is because there’s no need to when your comfortable with the ball and not wasteful, as the likes of Carrick is regularly guilty of. We played quite well today against Everton, and again proved that an unfit Fletcher and a dropped Carrick were not missed. They’re bench fodder, as they would be at any other club that wants to progress.