FOOTBALL NEWS

11/03/2013 22:30, Report by Gemma Thompson

Carrick is crucial

Rio Ferdinand cannot understand why Michael Carrick's talents have not always been fully recognised by those outside the United squad.

The defender insists Carrick has been one of United's most consistent performers, not only this term, but for the last few years.

Ferdinand says his importance to the Reds is something that is recognised by everyone within the dressing room even though those outside it haven't always been as forthcoming with their praise for the midfielder.

"He is the most under-rated and undervalued player in the league. But he is valued highly by each member of our squad, don't worry about that," Ferdinand told PA Sport.

"With Scholesy not playing as many games the responsibility has gone to Michael. And he has stepped up. He has handled it superbly. You just wish players like that didn't have to go through their careers searching for accolades.

"You would like to think people would give them out. That hasn't been the case with Michael, which is unfortunate."

Ferdinand labelled Carrick's pass to set up Chicarito for United's opener in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday as "the ball of the season" even though he expects it to be quickly forgotten.

"I am sure no-one will talk about it. It will be swept under the carpet and all the talk will be about other players who maybe do a little bit more explosive things than Michael does," he explained. "He is a little bit laid back. He plays at his own pace. He goes un-noticed.

"For Chicha to put it away the way he did...it was an instinctive finish which sums him up really. It was a great finish," added Rio. "And Wayne [Rooney] scored as well.

"The depth of our squad is not in question. We just have to continue to keep plugging away and putting the results together, then we will be alright."

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