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|Birthday||July 28, 1981|
A great squad player to have, Carrick seems to have accepted his lot as a reliable, experienced player for managers to call upon, having seen his stock decline somewhat for club and country in recent years.
Beginning his career in the West Ham academy, he won the FA Youth Cup in 1999, before he moved to Tottenham in 2005. He impressed under the guidance of then-manager Martin Jol and established himself as a quality passer of the ball and was snapped up for £18.6 million by Manchester United after the World Cup in 2006.
His strong positional sense and accurate passing made him an important player for the Red Devils and he helped United to win the Premier League in his first season at Old Trafford, before going on to claim two more league titles and the Champions League trophy in 2008.
A first-choice for United in his first three seasons, Carrick’s underwhelming performance against Barcelona in the 2009 Champions League final signalled the beginning of the end for him as a regular starter for United and he was consistently left on the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson during the 2009-10 campaign.
He experienced a minor resurgence in 2010-11, playing 11 of 13 Champions League games and returning to the first XI more often in the second half of the season. Paul Scholes’ retirement gave Carrick an opportunity top establish himself as a regular starter again in 2011-12, though the emerging Tom Cleverley may provide a threat to his place.
At international level, Carrick has found himself unable to break into the England midfield ahead of the likes of Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard – and although he was included in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads, he did not play a single minute in either Germany or South Africa.
Strengths: A great distributor of the ball, Carrick can play either as a holding midfielder or further forward. He boasts a powerful shot and is adept at playing with either foot.
Weaknesses: His shooting is decidedly poor and he rarely finds the back of the net. Often guilty of fluctuations in his form, he is not guaranteed a starting place for his club.
Career high: Winning the Premier League and Champions League double in his first season at Old Trafford has been a club highlight, while he was named Man of the Match in England’s 2-1 win over Germany in November 2008.
Career low: Missing out on a top four spot with Tottenham in 2006 after losing 2-1 to West Ham on the final day of the season following a bout of food poisoning that affected ten players. The 2009 Champions League final was a pretty dire individual performance.
Style: Inventive, versatile, two-footed, an unspectacular but important player.
Quotes: “Michael’s biggest quality is to move play from defence to attack and win the ball. Because of him, other players play better.” Former Spurs boss Martin Jol, February 2007.
Trivia: Drove former United legend Mark Hughes out of his £6 million mansion after he won planning permission to demolish and rebuild the house opposite.