I admit I was one of Carrick's severest critics, He has done particularly well this season and hope he continues with the combative play that has been appearing from him this season, long may it continue, though I hope he gets even more combative
I've not necessarily been a big critic of his (someone could pull me up and prove I have been) but admit I had the belief he was not up to the task in major games up until this season. Now I'm of the belief that it's the player beside him we need to concern ourselves with. Carrick is our Mr Reliable in midfield and we do seem to play better with him in the team.
The criticism of Carrick has been unreasonable. For 95% of matches he is very good. However, as the Saints showed last night again, if the opposition press him early and hard, he is not quick enough in mind and body to escape. His 'turning circle' is too large and slow , against teams that play in that style. Not many do in the EPL so he's OK for the vast majority of games, but in Europe, even mid-ranked teams can catch him out.