Carrick: "Antonio is a pure athlete, pretty much the full package."

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick hailed Antonio Valencia as the Ecuadorian continues to impress under Louis van Gaal.

Since Rafael da Silva has been injured, Valencia has been used as a right-back and also as a right wing back this season. He also assisted Wayne Rooney's opener against Liverpool last weekend at Old Trafford after he breezed through Adam Lallana and Joe Allen.

However, Michael Carrick who has been great - in midfield and also at the heart of the United defence - since his return from injury, praised his team-mate [Valencia] as he told Inside United.

"Antonio is a pure athlete," Carrick said as quoted by "He is immense. It is the work he does that doesn't get noticed, things like carrying the ball up the pitch for 30 or 40 yards when you have been defending.

"He takes you up the pitch and defenders just back up because they know about his pace. If he can go down the line, then he is pretty hard to catch. He is a great team player and, when you are playing with him, you certainly appreciate that he is on your team."

Valencia has passed 200 appearances for the Red Devils and Carrick believes he is 'pretty much the full package', and he's doing well under Louis van Gaal.

"He is pretty much the full package," said the midfielder. "He is reserved but determined at the same time. He is quiet, he is pleasant and he is polite. He is not somebody who shouts and screams in the changing room but I certainly wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of him.

"He is stubborn and determined. He has got a real desire to win, like everyone at this club."

Written by @Chukkymufc