Player-by-player reviews 2012-13: Part two

Posted by Mark Payne

Matthew Peters/Getty ImagesMichael Carrick's superb season was recognized by his teammates, who voted him player of the year.

Michael Carrick: 9

Without question the midfielder's best season at the club. He was voted player of the year by his colleagues on the staff and it is the least he deserves. That tremendous achievement arrives to cap the season when his name has been sung the most by fans.

It has taken Carrick nearly a decade to be fully appreciated by the crowd and his story is testament to the values of perseverance and hard work. United fans are usually more discerning, but in pining for a new Roy Keane, Carrick's attributes have often been overlooked.

In some ways, he is the Ray Wilkins of this generation of United players. Unshowy, but effective. And a key reason the title resides at Old Trafford this summer.

Anderson: 6

There is a temptation to simply copy Anderson's end of season report from any of his previous campaigns. The words 'must do better' have been written every June about the Brazilian.

As usual, he has put in a couple of blistering performances, before becoming injured and then fading into the background. In his six years at the club, only in his debut season of 2007-08 did he appear in more than 18 matches.

A player with tremendous talent, but surely he has run out of time now.

Nani: 7

Since Dimitar Berbatov's departure last August, there is the temptation to identify Nani as the most talented player at the club. Certainly, he is capable of terrorising any defence and is unplayable at his best.

The Reading match in the FA Cup was the best showcase of his talents this time out and he was single-handedly responsible for dragging United to victory that day.

But he is hugely inconsistent and some days looks disinterested. There has been season-long talk about transfers, too. This was likely because he was negotiating a new contract, but it is not the kind of behaviour that endears you to a millionaire part-timer.

A potentially great player, but not one for who people have much affection.

Ryan Giggs: 7

How many Weetabix does Ryan Giggs eat in the morning? Is he from the planet Krypton? There are virtually no earthly explanations for the Welshman's continued endurance at the top level of the game.

In the early part of the season, when Sir Alex Ferguson played Giggs out of position in central midfield, it seemed as though this would be a season too far for the veteran.

However, used more sparingly and precisely later in the campaign, Giggs excelled. His exquisite sixty-yard, full-volley pass to set up Robin van Persie's goal against West Ham was a fundamental part of one of the goals of the season.

In an interview in mid-October, van Persie was asked how it felt to now be a Manchester United player. The Dutchman, a striker at the peak of his powers, spoke in awestruck tones about Giggs and the influence he has on the training ground and his professionalism.

Giggs is still doing a job for United and is good value for the contract extension he has signed. Just don't ask how. And hope he doesn't play in central midfield too often.

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