Carlos Queiroz, Sir Alex's former assistant manager, was on the money with this observation in 2007: “Asking a team to win the league without a top-class defensive midfielder is like sending a climber up Everest without oxygen.”
Of course, anybody who knows Michael will note that he doesn't care for personal acclaim. This is a Red who has made almost 300 appearances and has featured in some of European football’s biggest matches, but seldom commands column inches. Off the pitch, for someone who has won so much, Carrick is almost anonymous. There's no Twitter account, website or clothing range because quite simply "it isn't me to shout the odds."
This calculatedly low profile, similar to that of Paul Scholes, might also have contributed to a lower than deserved collection of England caps. On that note, how does a national team that seems to struggle with ball retention ignore a player of such finesse and passing accuracy?
“All I care about is playing for this club and winning things,” Carrick told ManUtd.com. “I want to be appreciated by my team-mates and the manager, but anybody else’s opinion is irrelevant to be honest. If I feel I’m playing well and winning things, then that’s great.
“Nothing else matters. To be honest, people’s opinions change so often. One week you’re the greatest player ever, the next week they want you sold. You can’t take too much notice.”