David Moyes Should Use His Christmas Wish to Speed Up Michael Carrick's Return

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentDecember 20, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Michael Carrick of Manchester United in action during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

If David Moyes has only one Christmas wish this year, it should be that Michael Carrick returns from injury sooner rather than later.

He's that important. There will be some Manchester United fans wishing for Cesc Fabregas or Daniele De Rossi. And, while they would be welcomed warmly at Old Trafford, United can't afford to be without their better players.

And, along with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, he falls into that category.

Carrick's missed the last eight games with an Achilles injury, the last five in the Premier League. Of those five, United have won one, drawn two and lost two. It's a poor record.

In an area of the squad that has been considered weak for a number of years, Carrick has stood out. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Michael Carrick (L) and Wilfred Zaha of Manchester United look on from the stands during the Barclays Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 1, 2013 in London, En
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In England, we have tended to measure our midfielders in blood and thunder. 

How many crunching tackles do they make? How many long-range thunderbolts do they score? How many times a season do they go off to get stitches in a deep head wound only to return moments later?

Carrick does none of that. But, he does do things that are much more subtle. He breaks up play with intelligent positioning rather than sliding tackles. 

He doesn't do well in the assist column or the list of goalscorers. But, he's the man behind the chance, the one who wins the ball and moves it on in the blink of an eye. A second later, it's in the net. He's usually late to the celebrations, but he's played his part in making them happen.

He would perhaps be more appreciated if he played abroad. Or, if he were playing in the Premier League under a more exotic name. Michel Carrizo, perhaps.

ROME - MAY 27:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona battles for the ball with Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27, 2009 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

We would rave about his passing and his technical excellence. He should have been born in San Sebastian rather than Wallsend.  

Carrick has held United's midfield together for much of his seven years at Old Trafford. And, his absence has only served to highlight how important he's been.

Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones are talented midfielders, but they immediately look more accomplished next to Carrick and all of his experience. 

United fans sing about Carrick that it's "hard to believe it's not Scholes." But, it's more unbelievable that United have continued to be successful with barely any investment in their midfield.

So, before United fans start writing to Father Christmas for a selection of midfielders from around the world in the January transfer window, they should perhaps wish for one a little closer to home.