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20th Dec 2016

Gary Neville reveals the four midfielders he believes could replace Michael Carrick

A Liverpool legend is among them

Darragh Murphy

Michael Carrick, even in his 35th year on this planet, continues to dominate games for Manchester United.

The veteran midfielder is understandably unable to play two games a week like he once might have but, when selected, there are few better at pulling the strings in the centre of the park than Carrick.

United boss Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of the Englishman but is well aware that Carrick is going to struggle with fitness issues given his age and the miles already on his clock.

Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League

Carrick will be a free agent in the summer as United continue to offer one-year deals to the older players in their squad. Mourinho has hinted that Carrick will be presented with the chance to stay on for one more season but the player himself has conceded that he may have to see his career out away from Old Trafford.

“Michael is 35 years old,” Mourinho said after last month’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal. “With such an intense game he was having some cramps in the last period which is normal.

“It is very sad to know that time flies for every one of us. He is such a fantastic player and it is a pity, I always loved him, but instead of being his manager when he was 25 I am his manager when he is 35.

“We have a good understanding. We know when he can play. We know when he is ready and when he needs a rest. I am still having Michael Carrick and probably for one more season. That’s life.”

Carrick’s time in United’s engine room is obviously coming to an end and talk will inevitably turn to who will replace him as every top team requires a player with Carrick’s skill-set.

Red Devils legend Gary Neville was asked during a Twitter Q & A on Tuesday who he would like to see take over from the reliable midfielder and he had four men’s names ready to go.

Xabi Alonso’s Liverpool history would make that transfer less likely than the others and he’s not any younger than Carrick either.

But United have long been linked with both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos so seeing either of them make the move to Manchester United wouldn’t exactly be surprising.

And neither would a lengthy transfer saga as that’s simply how United do business.