subsequently decided to stay with the club the following season – despite relegation out of the top flight. However, after losing the 2004 play-off final to Crystal Palace, Carrick decided he couldn't wait another year for a return to the Premier League and moved across London to join Tottenham in a transfer worth £2.75m.
He blossomed into an accomplished midfielder in two seasons at White Hart Lane but the lure of United was impossible to resist as he was encouraged to head north by Sir Alex Ferguson's determination to bring him to Old Trafford.
A calming influence and the master of the interception,
he weighs in with the occasional goal - his first was a well-taken half-volley against Aston Villa in early 2007 before a strike against Reading in the FA Cup was shortlisted for the club's Goal of the Season award. A rare brace was secured in the memorable 7-1 rout of Roma in the Champions League.
Carrick may have only scored three goals in 2007/08 but his all-round contribution to the cause could not be questioned as the Reds were crowned champions of England and Europe. Little wonder then, that club and player agreed a new four-year deal in May 2008, to extend his stay in M16.