The pressure was firmly on Carrick when he joined the club from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006 and was immediately handed no. 16, the shirt of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest captain to that date, Roy Keane.
Carrick gradually had a more prominent role at the club though and being surrounded by players of the highest pecking order helped his development, but he puts it down to the trust he had in his former manager.
Speaking to Mike Ogden for a feature looking back on his great career for ESPN, Carrick explained: “The trust that we all had in him was unbelievable. [If I had been dropped], I kind of thought well if that’s his decision, I’d be ready when I’m needed. I was kind of accepting of not playing for a spell.”
Carrick is said to have performed a passion-driven speech at half-time in United’s recent 3-2 Manchester derby victory at the Etihad Stadium, in which they were 2-0 down at the break, and many believe that fuel has been inherited by the ways of Ferguson.
“It was his way of managing the group,” he continued. “Some lads started the season flying and fizzled off, some, like you say, me, I didn’t start well and finished strong. [Ferguson] kind of used that … clever.”
He’ll make his first big steps in following in Sir Alex Ferguson’s footsteps next season as he hangs up his boots and stocks up on the whistles as he joins Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff.