As Manchester United sit pretty inside the top four at Christmas, Sir Alex Ferguson will be enjoying his dinner on December 25 safe in the knowledge that Louis van Gaal is doing a good job.
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In an extended interview Fergie spoke about LVG’s first six months in charge of the Red Devils and insisted that things will continue to get better for the Old Trafford club as players keep returning from injury.
Speaking to BT Sport, United’s former boss reserved special praise for veteran midfielder Michael Carrick.
“I think Michael’s the best central midfielder in English football,” Ferguson said. “I think he’s the best English player in the game.”
High praise indeed.
Carrick, 33, returned to action in November and United have won six of their seven matches since he returned.
In recent weeks Carrick has been deployed in a holding midfield role but has also filled in at center back against Southampton and Liverpool when needed as his presence, composure and experience has been key in the Red Devils rising to third.
A silky player with an eye for a pass and a calming influence, England manager Roy Hodgson recently called Carrick up for England and with the former West Ham and Tottenham man looking to put an injury-hit spell behind him, van Gaal also appointed Carrick as a vice-captain alongside Darren Fletcher and behind skipper Wayne Rooney.
Carrick’s impact since arriving at Old Trafford in 2006 for $27 million has seen him win five PL titles, a UEFA Champions League trophy and has played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups for England.
But is Fergie correct to name Carrick as the best English player around? What about Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge or Raheem Sterling? Or has he just been on the eggnog a little early this year…