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Michael Carrick named vice-captain of Manchester United

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United passes the Captain’s armband to Michael Carrick during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on December 14, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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One of Manchester United’s most underrated players is finally getting the credit he deserves.

Louis van Gaal named Michael Carrick vice-captain of the club today ahead of their match against Aston Villa over the weekend.

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Carrick missed the beginning of the season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery, but has returned to the lineup and made an immediate impact.

The England international has started six matches for United this season, all six resulting in wins.

Normally a defensive midfielder, Carrick was thrust into a center back role as United’s defense has been depleted with injuries. He has stood strong, becoming arguably the most important player for Louis van Gaal as the club continues their six game winning streak.

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After joining the club in 2006, Carrick has made over 350 appearances for the Red Devils, and has often been the unsung hero in United’s success. He has the ability to win tackles in defense and makes smart passes to start the United attack.

Over his career, Carrick has quietly been one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. The respect he has from his teammates along with his experience on the pitch are two reasons van Gaal named Carrick vice-captain.

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Darren Fletcher was named vice-captain of the club in preseason, but has only managed three starts while being used mostly as a late game substitution. Despite his lack of playing time, van Gaal stated the veteran Scot is still a part of the leadership core of the club, saying “I have three captains. You have a sequence: Wayne Rooney is one, Carrick is two, Fletcher three.”