I imagine one or two of your team-mates may have voted for you in the Player of the Year awards. Are you happy with how this season’s gone?
Yeah, I’m happy with my form but I won’t be happy if we finish second in the league. You have good spells and bad spells during the season and, overall, I’m happy with my form. But it’s not about individual recognition to me.
It’s a good thing you don’t seek the spotlight, because you don’t often get it. Are you comfortable with that?
It’s fine. All I care about is playing for this club and winning things. I want to be appreciated by my team-mates and the manager – anybody else’s opinion is irrelevant, to be honest. If I feel I’m playing well and winning things then that’s great. And if the manager thinks I’m playing well and selects me in the team that’s even better. 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 of it.
Does it puzzle you when you hear people saying Michael Carrick has “bounced back” or he’s “back to his best form”? Did it ever go away?
I don’t think it did, no. Last season I had a good season. I felt I played well. I played a lot of games alongside Giggsy and I think we worked really well together. A few people still said things but for me it wasn’t a case of having to bounce back. We won the league and reached the Champions League final, which has to count for something. I guess the worst time for me was in 2010, around the time of the World Cup in South Africa. I wasn’t playing well and I had an Achilles injury at the time, but apart from that I’ve been happy with every season I’ve played for Manchester United.
Some critics suggest the 2009 Champions League final in Rome left you “traumatised” or had some sort of lasting psychological effect on you...
That’s an easy line to trot out. It was probably a throwaway comment and then something everybody jumped on. That wasn’t the case at all. The final in Rome was one game in which we didn’t play well – the whole team. It was just one of those games. We had a few early chances, we didn’t take them and then they scored and we found it hard to recover from there. I was down afterwards, of course. And a defeat