Manchester United’s midfield has been chopped and changed over the past few seasons but there has always been one guaranteed component of it, the ever dependable Michael Carrick.
His performances have split fans down the middle with one camp frustrated at the lack of forward play he brings to the team, with the other defending his importance to the squad. Last season, I think he was one of United’s most impressive and consistent performers and he even started scoring again.
Speaking at England’s training camp in Moldova, he is confident that his best football is yet to come as a player.
“I look at people like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs and they are still playing great football in their late 30s so that gives me enough inspiration.” Michael Carrick
He said: “Hopefully I’m a better player now than I was a couple of years ago.
“I feel I have improved and I’m hoping to still improve. I’ve just turned 31 and the peak time in players’ careers seems to be a little bit later so hopefully that carries on and I’ve still got the best years ahead of me.
“It’s good news for me. I’m in that over-30 bracket now, which seems to have come around quite quickly.
“Because of the way we look after ourselves, the peak years of a player nowadays is nudging a little bit further on.”
The 31-year-old has been ever present and his importance to United is obvious to anybody who really watches us play. He might not be the forward running, powerful midfield that he was at Tottenham but that’s because Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t want him to be.
He has been moulded into a ball retention specialist with fantastic intelligence and positioning skills. He is the dependable midfielder who does a job that most people don’t appreciate but every team needs.
For some reason, England have overlooked Carrick for two seasons despite him being one of the best English midfielders in the Premier League. England cried out for a ball retention specialist at Euro 2012 but he has now rightfully earned his call back up to the national squad.
He continued: “It was great to play [for England] again. It was over two years since my last cap so it just reflected what I felt like when I got my first cap many years ago.
“To get that feeling again was really special and I really appreciated playing for my country again and the honour that brings. It was a special night for me.
“I know it was only a friendly and coming early in the season some people see it as low key but for me it was a special night.
“Every ex-footballer that I have come across has said ‘play as long as you can’ because once it is finished there is no going back. I appreciate how lucky I am to be in this position and I’ll try and drag it out as long as possible.”
I hope he does well and enjoys playing for England again, so long as he doesn’t get injured that is.