Michael Carrick, Manchester United Agree to Contract Extension Through 2018

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick on Saturday put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension at Old Trafford.

The club's official Twitter account announced that Carrick had agreed to stay another year at Old Trafford after helping his side clinch three trophies this term, including the UEFA Europa League:

The 35-year-old just finished his 11th season with the Red Devils, having joined from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006, and he has made 459 total appearances for United in that time.

Perhaps because he is of the same generation as compatriots Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard—who were best known for their goalscoring exploits and countless match-winning contributions—Carrick has been undervalued throughout his career.

Just one of his 34 England caps came in a major tournament, at the 2006 FIFA World Cup—one of only two tournaments for which he was selected.

However, with Carrick's age preventing him from playing each week, his talents are becoming ever more appreciated.

While not as eye-catching as sending a 25-yard rocket into the top corner or a raking through-ball assist, Carrick's qualities are nevertheless important to United's play.

The midfielder is a calming presence on the ball, and he makes full use of his outstanding passing range—and almost unerring accuracyto keep possession for United, allowing them to dictate the flow of games from the middle of the park.

Lately, the deep-lying playmaker—a position writer Michael Cox once described as "the most pivotal player in a modern, top-flight football team"—has been even more valuable to the Red Devils thanks to his ability to help Paul Pogba shine.

Performing a similar role to the one taken on by Andrea Pirlo when Pogba was at Juventus—and with the effervescent Ander Herrera acting as something of a mobile substitute for Claudio Marchisio—Carrick helps United replicate the Bianconeri's system in midfield, which allows the Frenchman to push forward in search of goals and assists.

At his age, and because he's unable to start every game, Carrick won't be a long-term solution for the Red Devils to get the best out of their world-record signing, but he's proved he can still be of vital importance to United.

His new contract is an excellent piece of business from the Manchester outfit.   

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