This has been an odd season so far for Manchester United midfielder, Michael Carrick.
The 31-year-old has been the unsung hero of the Red Devils’ march towards their 20th English top flight title.
He has put in the hard graft between the back four and the frontline, and is one of the first names on Alex Ferguson’s team-sheet.
He is also an England regular, and may become the Three Lions’ reluctant saviour this week, for their World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
Phil Jones, Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill have all been ruled out of contention to play for England due injury, leaving coach Roy Hodgson shorn of central defenders.
Rio Ferdinand stuck the knife in and twisted it by pulling out at the last minute too.
Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott may be called upon to start, but neither of them has enjoyed regular game time for their Manchester clubs this season.
City substitute Lescott is also in danger of missing out on the Montenegro game if he picks up a yellow card against San Marino.
And so it seems Carrick could be shoe-horned into the back line, as Hodgson seeks to make the most of the United man’s versatility and equanimity.
And if as expected San Marino set out their stall simply to stop England from scoring, Carrick’s range of passing from the back, freeing up another space in midfield, may actually be just what the doctor ordered for a sometimes staid Three Lions squad.
On the other hand, England are lucky that their first match of the international break is against a team that actually does not expect to win.
And if Carrick starts in defence against dangerous Montenegro, with Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic to contend with, his season of so far smooth sailing may be about to hit a squall.