Michael Carrick has been rightfully praised for his performances this season and was a major cog in the Manchester United team that won the Premier League title. Carrick was easily the best midfielder at United and was voted into the PFA team of the year. Many people make the case that, Michael Carrick was the most important piece in the United puzzle that won them the title.
Teams that want this type of player should look into Wigan’s James McCarthy because, statistically, he had a very similar season to Carrick. McCarthy has not been praised nearly enough despite the fact that many of his statistics were similar if not better to Carrick’s. McCarthy is only 22 and could be had for a discounted price, because Wigan just went down to the Championship.
Carrick was rightfully praised for his work on the defensive side of the ball for United but McCarthy was just as good if not better in important statistical categories. In terms of aerial 50-50 balls, Carrick had a pretty significant edge in percentage won, 55% to 42%, even if McCarthy did win more of them. When it came to 50-50 balls on the ground, McCarthy had the advantage in amount won with 306, percentage won at 57%, and minutes per ball won with a ball won every 11 minutes. McCarthy also had the advantage when it came to tackling as he had nearly a five percent advantage in percentage of tackles won and he won 16 more total than Carrick did.
Another reason why Carrick was very important for Manchester United was because he was the hub of the midfield and dictated play but McCarthy actually did the same thing for Wigan. Michael Carrick did complete many more passes than McCarthy and completed them more often as he completed 0.91 passes per minute while McCarthy only recorded 0.65 passes per minute. While Carrick completed many more passes, the passing percentages of McCarthy and Carrick were nearly identical with Carrick at 88% and McCarthy at 87%.
McCarthy is thought of as a pretty creative player and some would make the argument more creative than Carrick but the stats suggest that, while McCarthy is better at going past opposing players, they are quite similar in amount of creativity as well. McCarthy had much better dribbling stats with 27 successful dribbles as opposed to Carrick’s eight. When it came to chance creation, they were very close with McCarthy edging out Carrick with 34 created chances as opposed to Carrick’s 33, although Carrick did create more clear cut chances with five while McCarthy only created one clear cut chance all season.
McCarthy has been linked to Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton all in the last few months but only Everton have actually put a bid in. At the moment, Wigan are holding out for a lot of money for the 22 year old, they reportedly told Everton they would need to pay £20m, but they will probably need to settle for less if McCarthy asked to move. McCarthy really needs to leave Wigan because he is just far too good to play in the Championship, no disrespect to the league, but he deserves to play in the top flight. McCarthy would be a shrewd signing for anyone as he is already this good and still has room to grow, since he is only 22 years of age.
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