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.”
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.