United's midfield options are now perfect
Manchester United assistant coach Michael Carrick believes the Reds now have the perfect blend and balance in midfield, with everybody fit and hoping football can resume in the near future.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to his team selection as Paul Pogba should be over his foot injury, while Bruno Fernandes's arrival in January has been an exciting development.
Scott McTominay looked back to his best after his own lay-off, Fred started adding goals to his energetic game and Nemanja Matic had brought a calm assurance and experience. Juan Mata was another in-form contributor and Jesse Lingard appeared to be regaining his spark.
Furthermore, Andreas Pereira scored our final goal before the enforced break, Angel Gomes is waiting patiently for his chance to shine and James Garner earned special praise for his work in training this week from Fred, during an interview with the Brazilian media.
It all adds up to a tremendous array of talent ready to help the Reds pick up where we left off when things do get under way again.
Michael and ex-skipper Bryan Robson took part in an exclusive 'Midfield Masterclass' discussion with MUTV's Mark Sullivan recently and the intense competition was a topic up for debate.
“It's nice to have something we haven't had for an awful long time this season,” said Carrick.
“We've had injuries and you want competition.
“I think the beauty of it is the variety of different options the boys give you. They've all got their own strengths and can play together in combinations. They can play in twos or threes together, and all bring something different. It's the perfect blend and balance, if you like, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Sometimes, we've been forced to play the lads who've been fit and they've played well and done that.
“Fred and Nemanja have done terrific as a two and complemented each other and blended together really well.
“It's about getting the right mix and certain games suit certain things. It's up to us as a staff, and Ole as manager, to see who suits certain games but, all of a sudden, everybody is fit and, with Bruno coming into the squad, it's a lovely variety to choose from.”
Bruno added flair and a positive outlook following his arrival from Sporting Lisbon, and the return of Pogba into the mix, with his world-class skills is something all supporters are eagerly anticipating.
Reds legend Robson offered his opinion on the midfield situation and feels a regular run of games brought the best out of Matic and Fred.
“Matic wasn't getting too many games and, every time he came, in he looked a bit rusty, to me, and Fred was exactly the same,” he said.
“McTominay was coming on leaps and bounds but then he gets his injury. All of a sudden, Matic and Fred are getting more opportunities of playing regularly, and I thought both of their fitness came on really well.
“Nemanja is one of them, a good interceptor who reads the game well, like Michael did. Fred loves a tackle! Sometimes, he's a bit rash but he loves to get about the park and I thought we saw the best of those two in the last 15-16 games we played.
“Definitely, Fernandes has helped them a lot with the way he got on the ball and his passing range and vision. And then taking it on board to hit off shots early, the way he did, was brilliant.
“I think that balance worked really well and it's why we were on a good run.”
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