Both are former West Ham United players with varying levels of success at the club. One was a big hit at the club playing over 150 times while the other played just five times during an ill-fated spell at the club in 2006-07. When you look at those two records and take away the regarding nationalities, based purely on footballing talent, international recognition and the success of the two players you could be forgiven for getting the two players in question the wrong way around.
In fact that is not fair when you consider Carrick has won four Premier League titles and a Champions League medal compared to Mascherano and his one La Liga title and Champions League honour. When you consider however that those titles came as part of possibly the greatest ever club team in history for Barcelona in 2010-11 it almost counts as more.
When you compare the two in how well they adapt to change positionally however there is no doubt which one comes off better in a game of Top Trumps.
Javier Mascherano has become a centre back since his move to the Catalan club, playing in the Champions League Final alongside Gerard Pique against Manchester United. In the round of 16 match against Arsenal his sliding tackle on Nicklas Bendtner was a thing of majesty.
Michael Carrick however has never quite fared so well when covering at the centre-back position. The performance against Braga again highlighted his frailties when filling in at the back. On the face of it, stereotypically at least, Carrick should fare better than Mascherano considering several inches he has on the Argentine in height but the England international has never possessed the tackling attributes of his Barca counterpart and he reads the game a lot less efficiently then the former Liverpool man.
Of course being a midfielder by trade in the defence of Barcelona is a lot easier than at many of the world’s other leading clubs, where attacking attributes are an advantage in a team in which everyone is expected to be a part of attack, even the goalkeeper.
In Michael Carrick’s case it has been proven time and time again that a role as a centre back seems to be beyond the midfield man, despite his many other excellent qualities.
Do you think Carrick can do a job at centre-back?
image: © Andrea Sartorati