The 31-year-old has been accused of not producing on the biggest stage but one former Red Devils player believes that he can nullify the threat of the Portuguese superstar
By Russell Stoddart
Former Manchester United star Gordon McQueen is backing Michael Carrick to turn in the defining performance of his Red Devils career against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening.
The midfielder has enjoyed arguably his best season in a United shirt in 2012-13 but there remain critics who insist that he has failed to deliver on the big stage, particularly in the Champions League.
|CARRICK’S SEASON STATS
AVERAGE PASSES PER GAME
But McQueen believes that the 31-year-old has the chance to silence his detractors against a side who boast one of the best players in the world in former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Carrick suggested on Monday it might take three players to keep the Portuguese superstar quiet but the retired defender is confident that Sir Alex Ferguson will entrust the England midfielder with the role.
“Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two players in the world that you know will hurt you if you give them time and space,” McQueen told Goal.com.
“In the past he would have had a Roy Keane, Paul Scholes or, more recently, Darren Fletcher doing the marking role, but I think Wednesday is tailor-made for Carrick.
“Carrick came to United as a flair player who sometimes struggled to impose himself physically but he’s now a tougher, more disciplined player who can be trusted to do a job on Ronaldo.
“Sir Alex will tell Carrick that he cannot allow Ronaldo to go one-on-one with his defence. I’m sure he’ll opt for experience with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the centre but he will expect Carrick to give them good cover.
“It might not be the sort of role he would envisage for himself at United but, if Carrick gets it right and Ronaldo has a quiet game, then it could be the performance that shapes his United career.”