Michael Carrick is a midfielder for England and Manchester United in the English Premier League. He is fast becoming the heart-beat of the United side, playing as the deep-lying central midfielder, feeding sublime passes through to the strikers and breaking up the opposition’s play. He competes with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Owen Hargreaves for a spot in the England side, and has been overlooked in the past, but is looking resurgent under the tutelage of new coach Fabio Capello.
Michael Carrick was born on 28th July 1981 in Wallsend in the suburbs of Newcastle in the north of England. His father was a volunteer at the local Wallsend Boys Club, which had an eleven-a-side football club attached with a reputation for producing good footballers. Michael Carrick followed in the footsteps of Alan Shearer and Steve Bruce by playing for Wallsend, and was taken into the England Schoolboys team at the age of 15. When he was 16, he left school and accepted a trial and contract at West Ham United, who were renowned for giving youngsters a chance.
Michael Carrick spent one year in the youth team at West Ham United before being promoted to play in the first team. Whilst at Wallsend he had played as a striker, at West Ham he was pushed into a deeper central midfield position – where he eventually made his name as a fantastic distributor of the ball. Alongside Joe Cole, Carrick helped West Ham to lift the FA Youth Cup, with a stunning 9-0 victory in the final.
Carrick made his debut for the first team in August 1999, but needed more experience. Loan spells at Swindon and Birmingham prepared him for the rough and tumble of top-level football, and by the start of the 00/01 season he was ready to meet the demands of playing at the top on a regular basis. He was an instant success – whilst Joe Cole took all the attention and plaudits from the press, Carrick was slowly developing into a classy midfield performer with a winning mentality. Michael was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, but lost out to a young Steven Gerrard.
Injuries took their toll in the following seasons, with Carrick suffering the disappointment of relegation in 02/03, when West Ham went down on the last day of the season. Whilst the stars of the team left for bigger and better projects, Carrick decided to stay and help West Ham back into the Premier League, but they lost out in the playoffs after missing an automatic promotion spot by two points. Michael decided that he had done all he could, and wanted a return to the Premiership – and moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £2.5m in August 2004.
Spurs were having an exciting time under Martin Jol, and with Carrick and a number of other young English players they started to play some good football. Having settled into the squad, Carrick was able to help the Whit Hart Lane club to fifth in the league table – narrowly missing out on Champions League football because a stomach-bug on the eve of the last day of the season cost them their best players, and they were unable to beat Arsenal.
On 31st July 2006, Michael Carrick completed his protracted move from Tottenham to Manchester United. With Carrick and United both keen to tie up the deal, the only stumbling block had been Spurs, who had decided that they did want to sell him, but at their own price – which turned out to be £14m plus £4m in clauses.
Carrick took over Roy Keane’s now-vacant number 16 shirt, though he wasn’t the same type of snarling and biting midfielder. Michael made his debut on 23rd August 2006, and became one of the first-team regulars – playing best alongside the more creative and attacking Paul Scholes in the centre of midfield. He played practically every game for United, and proved himself at the very highest level.
It was Carrick’s metronomic passing that helped United win the league title for the first time in four years. It was hoped that he would form the perfect midfield partnership (for both Man United and England) with new signing Owen Hargreaves, but the Canadian-born Hargreaves struggled with injuries. Nonetheless, United went on to win the Premier League and Champions League double, and Carrick has started to win the affection of the fans who now recognise how important he is to the team.
Michael Carrick made his debut for England in August 2001 under Sven Goran Eriksson, but it took another four years before he started a match in the famous white shirt. He made it into the 2006 World Cup squad, but was overlooked for the key games as Sven looked to shore up the defence with the more defensively-minded Owen Hargreaves preferred instead.
In spite of his championship-winning form for United, he continued to be overlooked in the centre of midfield with Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all included in the team ahead of him. With England’s repeated disappointments whilst trying to link up Gerrard and Lampard, new manager Fabio Capello finally made Carrick a regular in the World Cup 2010 qualifiers.