Michael Carrick to play centre-back as Manchester United injury crisis worsens

Paul Hirst 08:25 04/11/2014
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Jack of all trades: Michael Carrick has sporadically appeared in defence for Manchester United.

 Michael Carrick is set to solve Manchester United’s injury crisis by playing at centre-back in the coming weeks.

Carrick made his first appear­ance of the season on Sunday when he came off the bench to replace injured centre-back Marcos Rojo in United’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

United expect Rojo, who dislo­cated his left shoulder sliding in for a tackle, to be out for some time which is a blow to Louis van Gaal as he is already short of options at centre-back

The United manager is set to be without Phil Jones for some time as the England centre-back is suffer­ing from shin splints – his second injury of the season.

Meanwhile, Jonny Evans has not played for more than six weeks because of an ankle injury while Chris Small­ing is serving a one-match ban for his careless dismissal for two petty fouls on Sunday.

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is stretchered off from the pitch after dislocating his shoulder during their 1-0 loss to Manchester City

And Carrick, who has featured in defence on occasion throughout his career, claims that he would have no problem starting there in Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace.

“If I need to play there then fine I have not had a lot of football recently so I will play anywhere,” said Carrick, who suffered a serious ankle injury just before United’s pre-season tour of the USA.

“It’s not somewhere I have played an awful lot of games. I have had spells of playing there over the years, playing two or three or four games in a season. But I don’t mind. I will play anywhere.”

Rojo raised hopes of a speedy recovery yesterday when he tried to play down the extent of the injury on Twitter. “Gracias a todos por los mensajes. Gracias a dios fue solo un mal momento / thank you all for your messages. thank god it was nothing,” he wrote.

Gracias a todos por los mensajes. Gracias a dios fue solo un mal momento/ thank you all for your messages. thank god it was nothing

— marcos rojo (@marcosrojo5) November 2, 2014

We can play @carras16 at Centre Back….but still no doubt need to buy at least Ron Vlaar or £20M on Ezquiel Garay #MUFC

— Michael Wenman (@Mike12121995) November 4, 2014

United believe Rojo, who speaks only limited English, made some­thing of a mistake in his trans­lation of the Spanish part of his tweet. “Solo un mal momento” translates as “only a bad moment”, rather than “nothing”, and the club believe his injury is serious.

The defender was discharged from hos­pital on Sunday and the club have confirmed that the defender had suffered a dislocation. Medical esti­mates of a recovery time from such an injury range from six weeks to three months. In 2011, team-mate Rafael was out for three-and-a-half months with a dislocated shoulder.

That means Van Gaal is likely to field Carrick as a centre-back alongside either Tyler Blackett or Paddy McNair this weekend. 

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