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Carrick: Would I Have Played More For My Country If I Was Spanish?

Despite playing over 300 games for Manchester United, Michael Carrick has only made 27 appearances for his country. With too many England managers persevering with the failed Lampard-Gerrard partnership, Carrick insists that he has to respect the decision of those who didn’t pick him, and that life at United keeps him busy.

“I haven’t let myself get too frustrated about it because if I think I’m doing well here and the manager feels I’m doing well here then there’s not a lot more I can do,” he told talkSPORT. “Manager have opinions, that’s what football is about, and if they haven’t picked me then I can’t let that bother me too much because if I’ve not played for England in the past I’ve had enough going on here to keep me busy. I would have loved to have played more and have more caps, to have had a great career with England and been successful in tournaments, but what’s gone is gone. Maybe I’ll look back when I’ve finished but for now there’s still plenty of things that keep my attention.”

This season, with United closing in on their 20th title, only Patrice Evra (with 15 minutes more) has had more game time than Carrick. In his first three seasons at the club we won the league every year, as well as the European Cup, after going three years without being champions. He’s now approaching his fifth league title in seven years and has averaged 46 games a season since signing. Carrick is good enough for the best team in the country but not good enough to play for his country?

“It’s tough for me to answer really,” he said, embarrassed, when asked why England managers couldn’t see his obvious quality. “Managers have opinions, they pick players, and as a player I respect their decision. I’m not going to say they’re wrong, it wouldn’t be right for me to do that.”

Only four players in the top five European leagues average more passes than Carrick this season (Xavi on 98.9, Arteta on 85.5, Pirlo on 80.4, Yaya Toure on 80.3, Busquets on 79.1 and Carrick on 76.2) which has lead some to claim Carrick’s style of play is not suited to England’s game. In his interview with talkSPORT, it was suggested that if he was Spanish he would have played more games for his country.

“Again, it’s not for me to answer,” he responded, embarrassed again. “I just play the way I way. I dunno. It’s a tough one. I’ll let you talk about that. I am who I am, I play how I play. I just try to do the right thing here. People are always going to have an opinion, that’s what is great about the game. Some people are going to like you, some people aren’t.”

Adriam Durham then said: “You’ve had 27 England caps, roughly half of them were starts. You’re somebody that’s about to win their fifth title. If you said we’ve got an English midfielder who’s known for passing the ball and protecting his back four, who’s about to win his fifth title medal, to add to a Champions League medal, and he’s played in two other Champions League finals as well, and they said he hasn’t made 20 starts for England, it would a head’s gone moment. When you add it up like that it really doesn’t make sense, does it?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Carrick responded. “It’s tough for me to comment. I would have loved to have played more games, but for whatever reason, whether I wasn’t playing well enough at the time, or the manager didn’t pick me, that’s the way it is.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Alom says:

    United > Ingurlaaand

  2. montel says:

    England’s loss is our gain.

  3. kagawabungabunga says:

    Always a hero or a great man is not always recognized, appreciated and supported at his home land
    roll on 20th pall
    winning a trophy with them is a paranoid dream
    and will never happen
    may be if SAF was managing England

  4. United till I die says:

    I think if used properly carrick can easily play into his mid 30s. A proper CM who compliments his game would provide the platform for him win 2-3 more titles.

  5. Toms says:

    I like Carrick but it’s taken him time to have another stellar season. He’s had seasons where he was good but very mediocre hence the need for a playmaker like Kagawa. So overall maybe in the past it isn’t necessarily fair to throw the book at England managers (then again stuffing Gerrard and Lampard into the same midfield wasn’t a smart idea otherwise).

    This season he has been absurdly good.

    Eitherway I don’t think Ronaldo could save INgerland.

  6. King Eric says:

    Nah Carrick has been class since day one. Top lad. Unassuming Geordie who goes about his business quietly and effectively. Kudos to Durham for once who can clearly see his talent.

  7. Little Red Ant says:

    Like the rest of the Ingerlund squad you would have had no major tournament wins with the national team so you haven’t missed anything – won the same as your contemporaries

  8. guidedbyunited says:

    Love Carrick.

  9. orez says:

    I agree with Toms. Carrick had to many mediocre seasons. His goal and assist stats have been pathetic his whole career and he has been regularly bullied by stronger midfielders. In united he was able to get away with it because we have much stronger team then our opponents, but in international level his shortcoming would have been apparent. People who are saying that he had an excellent season should put a little perspective. Where we would have been without him, compared to someone like RVP. I am not bashing him BTW. He is decent player, but he needed to be in form to be united level. On top of all of this he has always striked me as very timid (bordering to cowardice). He has been a great servant and did really well this year and his overall purchase has been very successful. .

  10. Justin10RvN says:


    i guess using goals/assists as the be all end all argument for a deep lying CM makes sense….also apparently Pirlo is shit as well. I’m not saying Carrick is on god level but mediocre is what Anderson, Cleverly and the rest of our CM’s have been the last 3 years, Carrick and an aging Scholes is the only reason we weren’t skewered every game in midfield.

  11. ahjs says:

    Stats ain’t shit. Lampard’s goal and assist stats are better than Xavi’s (and many other midfielders), yet Xavi is probably considered Spain’s best ever player and Lampard will be largely forgotten by all except Chelsea fans.

    But let’s not get carried away. Carrick wouldn’t be getting in the Spanish team, although I understand his point. In theory England could have had a three man midfield consisting of Hargreaves, Scholes and Carrick but a manager who tried that would’ve been slaughtered. No man would’ve been brave enough. Our style is just different and a lot of our most gifted players, from Hoddle to Le Tissier and more haven’t been used correctly.

    Remember, we’re a country whose press have voted Scotty Parker the player of the season but never Scholes.

  12. Toms says:


    I certainly hope that a 30year old vet is more consistent in his role than a young pup getting blooded in. Cleverly is due a little patience. He looked damn promising last season before he got injured.

    Also, are we really comparing Carrick to Pirlo? If he was that amazing how do we explain the seasons where our center has looked so mediocre and the long period of time our midfield consisted of fantastic wingers and two auxiallry defenders?

    We all love the club but there’s no reason not to call a spade a spade.

  13. Tom R says:

    Pretty poor tonight, when he doesn’t get time on the ball he is very average
    Very good against the poorer teams but Definately not world class

  14. DiegoForlanDK says:

    Whats even more surprising is the fact that you’ve, I say you because I’m Danish, had some real problems in midfield as I see it. The Lampard-Gerrard wonder constellation never worked out as they were too similar players. It amazes me Carrick hasn’t featured more often with one of the two laying in front of him.

    But well, yeah our gain as many point out.

  15. soccerisfootbal says:

    carrick is a top quality player. when guys like scholes are calling you a rolls royce, you know you’ve done well.

    jones should not have been picked. i think fergie was trying to counter diame’s physicality, but diame stuck to the wide areas when he had the ball.

    with jones in the background of the midfield carrick moved up the pitch a bit more today and his defensive positioning suffered at times, which is why it seemed west ham had some room to counter us. his passing seemed a bit off today while watching the game but he had 120+ touches and 90% passing, not a bad night.

    whats happened to cleverley and anderson though? we haven’t seen them in weeks. carrick is at his best when he is besides high energy players to create some space for him to operate.

  16. itachi uchiha says:

    we need to buy good CM s this summer, Carrick is good player and played his part in our success, but he won’t be young forever.
    Jones is terrific player but we all like him playing in defence more. our midfield has been below our standard this season, our defence and offence filled the gap. I pray for our loved one Fletcher to be back fully fit and strong next season. Fletcher is missed in this midfield most of the year . 6 points for title GGMU

  17. siddharth says:

    Sorry but as good as Carrick is I don’t see him ever getting into the current Spain side.

  18. itachi uchiha says:

    Carrick is way better than slow motion Gareth Barry


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