With England midfielders dropping like flies, more and more questions have been asked about why Michael Carrick isn’t going to the Euros. He has had a brilliant season for Manchester United but, as always, hasn’t received much recognition for this.
When Roy Hodgson announced his squad, eyebrows were raised when Carrick not only missed out but also didn’t make the standby. When asked about this, Hodgson revealed that Carrick had told the FA he didn’t want to be considered for England if he was just going to be given a minor role.
“I wouldn’t dream of putting Michael Carrick on a standby list after he’s made it clear in the past he doesn’t want to be involved like that,” Hodgson said. “I’d have to be convinced he was better than the four [central midfielders] I’ve selected, and that he’d be happy to come out of retirement.”
It was the first we had heard of him being in retirement but at least it made sense of Carrick’s absence but it is mad to hear that Hodgson rates Carrick as the 5th best English midfielder. Gerrard has had a nothing season for Liverpool, but is obviously one of the players Hodgson was planning to include ahead of Carrick, given that he has the captaincy. Liverpool, who finished in 8th this season, won 27% of their league games that Gerrard featured in but managed to win 45% without him. Parker got found out in the second half of last season as Spurs plummeted whilst Lampard had a mediocre season until the last month when he raised his game. Gareth Barry is the only player who would really argue he deserves a place over Carrick. It’s a subjective matter. For me, Carrick is a far superior to player to Barry, but the former Villa man must have been doing something right this season to hold down a place in the team that won the league. Essentially though, Carrick and Paul Scholes were the best performing English midfielders this season and neither of them will be on the plane to Poland.
Why should Carrick stand behind all those players in pecking order? For Hodgson to rate Gerrard and Lampard, who have been the heart of every England team that has failed at every recent international competition, is insulting. Why on earth would Carrick want to warm the bench whilst the press ask the age old question “can Lampard and Gerrard play together?” The answer is no and it’s alarming that Hodgson doesn’t get that. The fact that he rates Parker and Barry above Carrick as well is a joke.
“In English football sometimes it seems hard for people to rate those who instead of shining themselves make the team work as a collective,” Xabi Alonso said last November. “For example, Michael Carrick is a player who makes those around him play, regardless of the fact that maybe he is not the player that shines the most individually. ‘It is more important to find players who can build a team rather than simply finding two very good players and putting them in the team even if they don’t play so well together. I mentioned Carrick, but there’s Paul Scholes too – another player who maybe hasn’t had the career in the national team that he had at United.”
Obviously football is more than statistics but it’s still fairly damning that Carrick’s passing completion is superior to any of the midfielders selected. With a passing success of 90.1% this season, he outshines Scott Parker (89.5%), Frank Lampard (86.9%), Gareth Barry (86.4%), Jordan Henderson (83.9%) and Steven Gerrard (83.1%).
Still, Carrick hasn’t snubbed England, he just told the FA back in January that he didn’t want to be called up if he wasn’t going to play.
“The contact with Michael were actually conducted before I took the job and it was made clear to me that he wasn’t a player that wanted to be considered, so he wasn’t a player that I did consider,” Hodgson said today. “At the time, with all the senior players we had at our disposal, it wasn’t so important. Michael Carrick is a player that I have always admired and, who knows, in the future, if these type of injuries continue, he might have a very important part to play. But then I would have to go and speak to him, and I don’t think that was appropriate before these European Championships.”
Oh lucky Michael, I bet he can’t wait. After being picked to start for Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson week in week out for six years, winning four league titles and a European Cup, amongst other trophies, I’m sure he can’t wait for the day that Roy Hodgson tells him he can play for England because the players he rates more highly are injured.
You can stick your fucking England up your arse, Roy.