Michael Carrick, Where Are You?

Eventually, the wondrous, ageless legs of Ryan Giggs and the astute passing of Paul Scholes will be a thing of highlight reels for United fans. They continually seem to defy odds, and age, each time they step on the pitch, but the time will come when they hang up their boots for our club. Like me, most fans have been dreading that day for a few seasons now, all the while thinking about who will not only take their place, but who will be a lynchpin in our midfield.

So, when Michael Carrick came to United, I was reservedly hopeful that he could be the future staple in our utterly important, and usually dominant, midfield. He seemed to defy naysayers and critics alike when he moved from Tottenham, helping United win the league in each of his first three seasons with the club. Our team was stellar each season, and some people might’ve overlooked the contribution that Michael Carrick made for us during those campaigns. I, on the other hand, have not. His role as a holding midfielder was transformed into a player who could push forward and challenge the net. He gave us the ability to hold in central or to spread the ball out wide. His uber accurate passing was something we were accustomed to seeing from Paul Scholes. At the end of the 2006/2007 campaign, Carrick had netted six goals for the club accompanied by five assists. While that sounds modest for someone we paid 14 million pounds for, it was his ability to control the midfield that really paid dividends.

Entering the 2007/2008 campaign, United was determined to defend their much earned silverware from the previous season. Although he picked up a few nicks on the way, Michael Carrick was undoubtedly one of our most vital players in a campaign that culminated with Carling Cup, EPL, and Champions League glory. The 2008/2009 season started a tad bleak for Carrick as he missed a handful of early games due to injury, but he bounced back nicely and helped United secure a third successive English Premier League title. All United fans will remember his memorable, late winner away against Wigan to secure us an ever-important three points.

And while we were only one point away from a fourth straight title in 2009/2010, most United fans want to file the memories of the last year or so in a box somewhere. In a campaign where Rooney had the season of his life, we were never close enough to Chelsea to win the league title and the absolutely gut-wrenching loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League is still something that many fans, including myself, look back on and shake their head. We don’t even need to get into the Rooney saga, do we? Lost in the shuffle of a season where we only won a consolation Carling Cup trophy is the fact that the Michael Carrick of yesteryear was gone. In a season that plagued us with injury, he was forced to play in our back four, a place that he was like a fish out of water. He had a few shining moments, most notably his late winner against Wolfsburg in the Champions League.

But as we embark on first quarter of the 2010/2011 campaign, the question really is, “Where is Michael Carrick?” His form has been something you’d see from someone who hasn’t had any first team appearances. He has lacked consistency in a time, and place, where we need consistency the most. A few years ago, our midfield seemed like a haven for depth. We had Carrick, Fletcher, Park, Nani, Giggs, O’Shea, Ronaldo, Scholes, and we had just acquired Hargreaves. This seemed like the least of our worries – out of sight, out of mind. Now, with the exit of Ronaldo (and Tevez), the reassignment of O’Shea, the inevitable retirement of Giggs and Scholes, the debacle of Hargreaves, and the constant midfield injuries, this is a time when we need the Michael Carrick of 2008. We saw flashes of him in the Champions League 2nd leg against Bursaspor, but what of it? A good game here and there isn’t enough. It’s not enough for the players and it’s certainly not enough for the fans.

He’s gonna be 30 years old next year, and normally 30 is where players go to die. And while he’ll never be the Giggs or Scholes that United have loved for close to two decades, he has the chance to remain a staple in our midfield until he’s 35, just like our two legends. So, Michael Carrick, what we need from you is the hunger and desire to restore our midfield to the powerhouse it should be. If you’re up to the task, I can tell you that you have an army of Red standing at your defense.


About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. that was something all the fans already know about carra and you made it even more boring by passing your laymen views.

  2. Thanks, mate. I have always been a Carrick fan, so I’m really hoping he can get back to form. I feel like if he can, it’ll be a big boost for our midfield, and one less worry that Fergie has to deal with. Our back four (Evra, Vidic, Rio, Rafa) is top-notch. Our front line is questionable without the Rooney of last year. We need to get this puzzle to fit together and we’ll challenge Chelsea properly.

  3. Good Read.
    Nobody wants to shout down a United player do we? No we dont.
    Carrick cost £17 million more injured than Anderson.
    This is a continuation from his Wet Spam days.
    He looks shot to me in confidence, two forward passes as an example in the Bursaspor till he passed to Fletch to sweep pass the goalkeeper.
    His contract expires in 2013 so does he.
    He has gone. Did not play a match in South africa, no where near a poor England midfield.

    He aint no Roy Keane is he? never mind Paul Scholes. This is the level the “Glazer” have reduced this club to.

  4. tempo tempo tempo.
    the thing that Carrick does that only Scholes can, is get the ball out of his body and into a pass at a lightning speed. there are some games where that doesnt matter so much, but others where its crucial. The fact that he’s never relied on pace makes me think he’s worth another contract. He could be big player until his mid thirties. That Bayern game has weighed heavily on him, but he’s looked good recently. When he has Scholes alongside him we get the ball from wing to wing quicker than any team ever

  5. Fantastic post cartelmike, summed up perfectly. I wrote something similar http://bit.ly/bAsXgz here recently. Bit surprised to hear of author’s displeasure at attack…certainly for me Berbatov has accompanied Rooney well since his arrival. His hold-up play and creating for others is joy to behold. Great hatrick v dippers, but still not convinced Utd fans understand his real worth aside from finding the back of the net…

  6. Hey Nik, thanks for the read.

    In regards to my displeasure at our attack, I don’t feel like my article or overall sentiments were about that. I wrote it to try and mirror some of the feelings that many fans that I’ve talked to have been expressing. Our attack, while understandably weaker without Ronaldo or Tevez, has held it’s own. Though it has to be examined and argued that if not for a Herculean effort from Rooney last campaign, who knows where we would have landed in the league table. Berbatov hasn’t really lived up to the hype, or the funds, that United have put forth. I think he is a brilliant player, but has been too inconsistent for our attack. At the beginning of this campaign, his form was stellar, but in recent weeks, he’s disappeared again. I am in 100% agreement about Berbatov’s ability to hold the ball and his passing/touch can be exquisite. I think the overall point of the article was to just express concern over Carrick’s noticable disappearance in the last year or so. I have always been a Carrick fan, and hope he can be a staple for our midfield for years to come. Again, though, thanks for the read. I do appreciate the comments.

  7. Yes I totally agree re main thrust of article, hence me posting my thoughts which weren’t too dissimilar; But I do feel I needed to address the comment on United’s attack – I have written extensively on the subject, and I cant agree at all that he hasn’t lived up to the hype or the funds – the latter is entirely irrelevant for many reasons. And whilst Berbatov has had a couple of poor games of late, I dont agree he has “disappeared again”. Berbatov has come in for some harsh criticism simply because fans favourite Tevez was ditched by Ferguson; The two are hugely correlated – or how else could we justify the ridiculous nonsense talked about him in the last 2 years, and the horrific terrace abuse he has been subjected to? Are we saying that the majority of OT goers are unaware of why he was bought? That as a perfect foil for Rooney in a false 9 position his role is one of creativity (created most GS opps than any other player in PL last year/most assists year before) and not goals?

    There were games last season where Rooney far from carried us – despite hitting the back of the net – and I didnt hear one bit of similar criticism directed towards the player; Likewise any other player (aside from Carrick) you care to mention. Its about balance and objectivity, and Berbatov doesn’t receive that from our fans – its that simple.

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