EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

01/05/2013 14:00, Report by Ben Hibbs
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Carrick at his peak

Michael Carrick has delivered his most consistent campaign in a red shirt and has subsequently placed himself in the running for a number of end-of-season awards. Yet you won't catch him hogging the limelight...

Michael, your first league goal of 2012/13 against Stoke made you United’s 18th league scorer this term – a club record, since extended to 19 by Antonio Valencia. What does that say about the team's efforts?
We’ve shared the goals around and we’ve scored a lot of goals too. We’ve got plenty of attacking players that score and the likes of Jonny [Evans] and Patrice [Evra] have chipped in. We had a spell earlier this season when Pat and Jonny were sharing the goals and they definitely enjoyed that! Rafa has scored too, so pretty much everyone is chipping in. It takes the pressure off the forwards if others contribute.

You’ve been one of United’s most consistent players this term. What do you put that down to?
As a player you’re always trying to improve and learn all the time. That’s what I’ve always tried to do and there comes a stage when, perhaps for a variety of reasons, you hit form and you feel comfortable with the way things are going. It’s probably an experience thing as well. I know what works for me now in different situations and different games, how you cope and how you adapt to that.

Do players of your style, in your position, need that experience to be at their peak? Players like Andrea Pirlo, for example, who’s a couple of years older than you?
That’s possible but it’s tough to say that for certain because there are other similar midfielders that are relatively young and doing well. Look at [Sergio] Busquets at Barcelona. He’s 24 and, although he’s playing with unbelievable players in that team, he’s done really well. Every player is different and some players can peak young and then they tail off, others become stronger later in their careers.

Do you feel you’re at your peak now?
Yeah. I feel like I’ve improved all the time I’ve been at United. You’re always going to have better spells than others. That's natural and you can’t be on an upward curve all the time or play at your best all the time. But as time has gone on I have improved as a player and I’m still looking to improve even now. You have to here.

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