When Manchester United signed Michael Carrick I was disappointed. Not because I didn’t think he was a good player but because I didn’t think he was good enough. It had been three years since we had won the title and I felt like we needed someone with a bit more umph that Carrick. The fact that we were forced to shell out a massive £18.6 million for him didn’t please me too much either. He seemed to have flop written all over him.

Since signing, he has never shown himself as the player I thought we needed. I wanted another Roy Keane, someone who could boss the midfield with force and passion, but their shirt number seems to be the most striking similarity between the two players! Carrick doesn’t make many crunching tackles and he’s rarely seen shouting at his team mates to urge them on. Instead, he quietly goes about his business.

By the end of his first season, whilst there was still some questions over his transfer fee, mainly from outside Old Trafford, people were impressed with what they had seen. He was the only outfield signing that season and we were transformed in to the second best team by eight points, to a team eight points clear on the day the title was won. Of course that’s not all down to Carrick’s input but it certainly is no coincidence that our barren period finished when he joined the club.

His performance and goal in the quarter-final against Roma was a turning point for a lot of reds, where his quality shone through. There’s no drama with Carrick, no searching for the limelight, just honest graft and great ability.

In his second season, in which he played 49 games, United won the league and European Cup double. Again, this does not lie entirely at his feet, but he played a vital role in our team. Lovely passes forward, splitting open defences, always eager to take the ball forward.

Now that we are coming to the end of his third season, where his form has again improved, the £18.6 million we paid for him is starting to look like a bargain. Tonight’s performance summed up his contribution, assisting our equalising goal before finishing beautifully for the winner.

The people who used to grumble about him around Old Trafford have slowly died out and Carrick seems to prove more and more, with every passing month, how worthy he is of a starting place in our team.

Well done Michael Carrick!