On the face of it, Paul Pogba's introduction after 58 minutes at Wolves last Sunday didn’t seem in any way unusual.
Indeed, with the Reds already 4-0 up and playing against a team reduced to 10 men, it made perfect sense to hand the promising midfielder another taste of top-flight action.
What was notable about those final 32 minutes, however, was the absence of Michael Carrick. Withdrawn to make way for the young Frenchman, the 30-year-old hadn’t endured a bad day at the office or picked up an injury that required treatment. He was simply given a rest.
And well he might following a marathon run of 1,595 consecutive minutes of Barclays Premier League football, a run spanning 19 fixtures and stretching back more than three months.
Or, to put it another way, between coming on in the closing stages of a narrow home win against Sunderland on 5 November 2011 and trotting off the pitch at Wolves last Sunday, Michael Carrick played every minute of every United league game.
“It’s a lot of football, but it’s always nice to be playing,” he told ManUtd.com when we put the statistic to him this week. “When you get a run of games you get into a good rhythm and you feel
5 Nov 2011 to 18 Mar 2012
Consecutive league minutes: 1,595
Attempted passes: 1348
Successful passes: 1214
Pass completion: 90%
Chances created: 20
Successful tackles: 40
* League games only