Fergie - Carrick in defence

Man United boss looking towards midfielder for emergency cover

Michael Carrick: Manchester United midfielder could be deployed in defence

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that midfielder Michael Carrick could play in defence for the start of the new Premier League season.

The 31-year-old stepped into a defensive role against Barcelona in Gothenburg on Wednesday in the midst of an injury crisis, and may have to do so again with Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all currently unfit.

"Smalling is out for three months," Ferguson told United's official website. "Jones got a muscle injury in his back and was sent home from Norway, so the area we're concerned about is centre-back.

"Evans won't be ready for the start of the season. He won't be far away, but he won't be ready.

"Smalling is out and I can't give you an update with Jones because we've not fully diagnosed that.

"But Michael Carrick was absolutely brilliant [in Sweden] with his passing the ball and his interceptions. He was fantastic."

United will start their Premier League campaign with an away game against Everton on Monday August 20.