• Premier League

Carrick brings composure to United, says Van Gaal

ESPN staff
December 20, 2014
Michael Carrick has been called upon to plug the gaps in Manchester United's leaky defence © Getty Images

Louis van Gaal has hailed Manchester United vice-captain Michael Carrick as his right-hand man on the field ahead of their clash with Aston Villa.

Carrick could move into his favoured midfield position because of Marouane Fellaini's absence, having featured in the middle of a three-man defence in United's 3-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.

But Van Gaal admitted Carrick's move from midfield is not necessarily permanent and said the England international understood what he wanted from his team.

"[Carrick] can transfer my philosophy on to the pitch," Van Gaal said. "Now we don't have Daley Blind, when I choose Carrick in defence, I miss him in midfield."

Carrick, who says he considers himself a midfielder always, has been used by manager Louis van Gaal in a centre-back role in recent matches and the results have been impressive for the club.

United have won all six games since Carrick returned to the first team following an ankle injury, but Van Gaal insists the England midfielder's form is not the sole reason for United's improvement.

"I think you give too much honour to Carrick,'' Van Gaal said. "But he is my captain so he brings a lot of experience but also a lot of composure.''

It was widely thought Darren Fletcher had been appointed as United vice-captain in the summer, but Van Gaal says Carrick is Wayne Rooney's deputy.

"I have three captains, in a sequence,'' Van Gaal said. "Rooney is one, Carrick is two, Fletcher is three.''

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