With reports suggesting Michael Carrick will be out of Manchester United duty until late December, the next month will be a huge opportunity for Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley to shine.
The two have come under much criticism this season, with Cleverley having suffered from views made by press and fans following brief observations of his game. Carrick has been the beating heart in Manchester United’s side for the past two seasons.
The likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie have produced the goals and magic moments, but Carrick has pulled the strings and been the center of a United team that has finished with the highest points in the Premier League for two seasons. Without him, United could well struggle.
He sits in front of the United defense and although he isn’t particularly protective of that back four, his discipline allows the others in front to not only have freedom, but also have Carrick over looking their work and putting the ball in gaps for them. As United’s player of the season in the last campaign, you can understand that he has been vital.
So how will United cope without him? It will be tough, but Carrick hasn’t started the season well. This gives a great opportunity for newcomer Fellaini and also the more established Cleverley.
I think we’ll see the two play alongside each other a lot. Fellaini will now play a bigger part in that United side, especially defensively. He has the chance now to get a good run of games together. The fear for United is that Fellaini doesn’t gel as quickly as they’d prefer and that United struggle to create the rhythm, but that is why I think Cleverley will be key towards the end of the year.
When he plays, he works non-stop. He doesn’t pull of the stunning runs, but his passing keeps United ticking. He keeps it moving fast and has a similar mindset as Carrick as he knows how to make the best pass to retain possession and get out of tight spaces.
It’s a key period for him, as he has gone through a phase under Moyes where he has seen little game times. Now, he can remind everyone of his talents and hopefully shine a little more. Cleverley was United’s hope to follow Paul Scholes originally, and he can now push on to fill the gap in United’s midfield left by the injured Carrick.