Packed out midfields and complex systems have become the current vogue in modern day football, driving up the stock of the holding midfielder.
Whether it be in the cut and thrust of the Champions League for the Red Devils or with the Three Lions on his chest for England, Michael Carrick has had the responsibility of stopping some of the world's best players in their tracks.
Over the course of eight videos United's midfield guardsman explains the technique and tactics behind breaking up the opposition's attacks.
Starting with the basics, the Geordie native says you've got to be clear on your responsibilities...
Michael Carrick wears Puma football boots. For more details, visitpumafootball.com
The holding role: Pick the right pass
The holding role: What to do when you are overrun
The holding role: Track your opposite number
The holding role: Press space, not players
The holding role: Cut the supply line
The holding role: Discipline is key
Michael Carrick: Protecting the back four
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Huw was on the FourFourTwo staff from 2009 to 2015, ultimately as the magazine's Managing Editor, before becoming a freelancer and moving to Wales. As a writer, editor and tragic statto, he still contributes regularly to FFT in print and online, though as a match-going #WalesAway fan, he left a small chunk of his brain on one of many bus journeys across France in 2016.