By Will Butcher

Danny Higginbotham believes Michael Carrick was the key to Manchester United’s 4-1 EFL Cup win against West Ham.

The 35-year-old started alongside Spaniard Ander Herrera in midfield as Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Anthony Martial both scored two goals to secure their passage into the semi finals.

Posting on his personal Twitter account, Higginbotham claimed that Carrick’s inclusion in the United side gave his teammates license to get forward.

England international Carrick sat in front of the United defence in Jose Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 system, as Herrera joined the likes of Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Martial in supporting striker Ibrahimovich.

With just over six months on his Old Trafford contract left, Carrick could find his stay in Manchester is about to finish.

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The former Tottenham Hotspur star has entered his 11th season for United, after joining the red half of Manchester back in 2006 from White Hart Lane.

A West Ham academy graduate, Carrick has made a huge 435 league and cup appearances for the 21-time English champions and has found the back of the net 23 times.

United now face Mike Phelan’s Hull City in the semi-final, while rivals Liverpool face Southampton.

Higginbotham, who began his career at United, played for the likes of Stoke City, Derby County and Southampton throughout his career.

In other Manchester United news, here are three reasons why this in-form star should be given a contract extension.