Since Roy Keane's departure by mutual consent in November of 2005, Sir Alex Ferguson has had trouble attempting to fill the void left in the central midfield anchorman role.
Ferguson has attempted to replace him with Juan Sebastian Veron, Eric Djemba-Djemba and even Alan Smith but Keane has until now been irreplaceable. Is Michael Carrick, the £18 million signing from Tottenham Hotspur the right man to replace him?
It would be foolish to expect Carrick to control the central midfield area in the same way that Keane would have done, as the two players are completely different specimens, Carrick lacks the imposing aggressive stature that made Keane such a fearsome player to face.
Carrick represents a different kind of player, the intelligent ball playing anchorman in the mould of Italy's Andrea Pirlo, or in previous years Argentina's Fernando Redondo or Spain's Josep Guardiola.
Keane's speciality was his tireless box to box running, whilst Carrick is renowned more for his elegant passes, and therefore prefers the ball to do the work.
Opta have looked at comparisons between the two players, the last full season for Roy Keane (2004-05) and the 2005/06 season for Michael Carrick.
Roy Keane had a high successful passing percentage of 89% compared to Carrick's 80%, one factor affecting this may be Carrick's inclination to play the long ball more often than Keane.
Unsurprisingly Keane conceded more fouls and also received more bookings than Carrick over the compared seasons but Carrick's total of six assists promises to add a new level of creativity to the United midfield.
|Player||Roy Keane||Michael Carrick|
|Team||Manchester United||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Minutes On Pitch||2,611||3,123|
|Goal Attempts|| || |
|Shots On Target||6||10|
|Shots Off Target||10||12|
|Passing|| || |
|Pass Completion %||89%||80%|
|Crossing|| || |
|Cross Completion %||40%||31%|
|Dribbling|| || |
|Dribbles & Runs||123||108|
|Dribble Completion %||82%||79%|
|Defending|| || |
|Tackles Won %||67%||74%|
|Discipline|| || |