The Manchester United boss has explained that he has never used a player to fill that specific role and cited Barcelona’s former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas as evidence that the most effective performers in the middle of the park need not be destroyers.
“If you look at the examples, Fabregas was one of the best midfield players in England for five years but he wasn’t a big lad and wasn’t a holding player,” said Sir Alex. “He was an attacking player. Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta are small players – you can’t call them holding players.
"I don’t think we’ve had a holding player since I’ve been here. We’ve never had a holding player.
“We tried to get Roy Keane to do that but he just couldn’t do it. He had to play a way that was his own way of playing, so I’ve not had it for 25 years. Why should I think about it now?”
In terms of midfield options, the manager expects Michael Carrick to build on a fine personal campaign and flourish with increased responsibility in the coming years.
“I think Michael Carrick has had his best season at the club,” he added. “I’m very hopeful now he will have an authority that will stand us in good stead for the next two or three years. That will be an important role for Michael, to replace Paul Scholes in that department.
“I always think he starts the season slowly but when we started putting him and Scholes together all the time, it’s a sensible combination in terms of both using the ball and their ability to take the ball. It gave us a central part of the