Following Manchester United putting pressure on Rio Ferdinand to pull out of international duty to ensure that he continues with his fitness regime to ensure that he keeps fit, Ferguson faced some criticism for his role in club over country players. In the international games that followed, four United players started against San Marino. In the following game against Montenegro there were five United players in the starting line-up.

Michael Carrick has today denied any claims that the manager encourages players not to represent their country.

“I’ve never had anything from the manager to say ‘pull yourself out’ or anything in that manner, it’s just not in his nature,” Carrick told talkSPORT. “You’ve got players here that travel the world to play international football. You’ve got Chicharito who goes to Mexico, you’ve got Antonio who goes back to Ecuador and from there they travel on to wherever they’re playing. If you’ve got the best players then international football is part of it. I don’t see it as club versus country.”