Michael Carrick.

Carrick understands unsung status

Sunday 26 April 2020 09:00

Manchester United assistant coach Michael Carrick wonders if he could have been more attacking in his playing days, after being voted as our most unsung performer in a recent poll on the Official App.

Fans agreed with Juan Mata on the subject, choosing the former England international ahead of five other carefully selected candidates for the accolade.

Speaking on a UTD Hangout with presenter Mark Sullivan and ex-Reds skipper Bryan Robson, the much-decorated Reds playmaker admits he moved deeper as the game changed and perhaps has a little regret at curbing his attacking instincts for the sake of the team.

How do you rate our current midfield?


You need to read how Michael Carrick and Bryan Robson answer that question in their fascinating Midfield Masterclass.

“I didn’t mind it all," Carrick said in terms of the perception of being unheralded, at times, during his career. "I think if I look back at it, I could have done that little bit more and maybe attacked a little bit more. It was one of them, though, where it’s easy to say now.

“I was fortunate enough to be playing in a team where I could rely on the ones in front of me, a lot to do the business really. I was conscious of trying to supply them the best that I could. I was happy to take a backseat and do a job for the team. I was never worried about headlines or grabbing the glory. I was there for the team. That’s just how it is.

“When I was younger, I was certainly more attacking but, as time went on, I was playing a bit deeper and deeper. I think the game changed as well. My career started against Keane, Vieira, Petit and Butty, players that would be literally box to box. That got less and less as time ticked on and you’d be getting put into that category of defensive midfield or attacking midfield. Rightly or wrongly, that’s just how it feel into place. I probably started playing more defensively then and found that position."

Robson gave his view the shift to have a midfielder consistently revert to a more defensive position, something he also did towards the end of his glittering career.

"In today's game, some of the foreign managers have come in and always want a sitting midfielder, so the others can, more or less, do what they want," he said. "The only thing is that, for me, if I'm setting up against that team, I know one player is just going to sit, what I can do, if I'm setting up to play them, is to get my forward to come off and play on his shoulder. Then, he doesn't get on the ball and it leaves the centre-halves with the ball.

“Whereas, if you mix the game up, you can get box to box with both central midfield players or, if you're using a three, all of them to mix it up so it's a lot harder to plan against or tie down."

Watch Michael discuss the evolution of tactics in the Hangout.


Michael Carrick - 37%
Ji-sung Park - 24%
Denis Irwin - 18%
Darren Fletcher - 8%
Someone else - 5%
John O'Shea - 4%
Rafael - 4%

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