Following weeks of excellent form from Michael Carrick, Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed now is the time for the 30-year-old the consistently boss the midfield.

“He’s grabbed the nettle, there’s no question about that,” said Ferguson. “In some ways, he’s maybe seen the departure of Paul Scholes as his opportunity to be the main man in midfield. I think it’s time Michael became the pivotal player of our team. We’ve always known he’s got that in him. He’s a laid-back character – quiet and unassuming – but in different periods during his time here he’s shown his quality. Now is the time for him to start a long period of dominating the centre of midfield like he has in the last few weeks. Michael’s been one of our best players. He’s been instrumental in what’s happening to the team at the moment. His performances have been quite outstanding.”