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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
from ManUtd.com:


Attested development
http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=6621514&page=1



Michael Carrick made a welcome return from injury to face his former club on Wednedsay. ManUtd.com tracks his route from lanky lad to Reds lynchpin…

The archetypal ‘Boy Wonder' tale runs: toddler kicks ball in nappies, hurtles through age groups, bursts to prominence while barely above legal driving age. But that's not Michael Carrick's style. Although playing five-a-side at precisely that age suggests a prodigious genius, the Wallsend-born youngster's evolution into world-class midfielder has been a slow-burning affair.

True, he represented the fabled Wallsend Boys Club, and spent every spare moment practising with younger brother Graeme, but Carrick was a devoted student, always focused on his schoolwork. His football talent was apparent, without being glaring. Although a star performer for Wallsend – a club known for unearthing rough diamonds – scouts were impressed, but not blown away. Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland ran the rule over this leggy prospect, but all shied away from commitment. Sunderland didn't even offer him a trial.

“It was a hell of a loss for Newcastle not to have got Michael to the club as a 12-year-old,†admits former Magpies manager Glenn Roeder, who worked with Carrick at West Ham. “He's probably the best player to come out of Newcastle for a generation. You can't put in what God left out: Michael was born to be a footballer. I think they saw a tall lad who was skilful, but didn't appear to have pace. He only played either side of the halfway line. But West Ham had a scout up here that took a fancy to him.â€

Harry Redknapp was at the Upton Park helm when Carrick was snared, part of a golden Hammers generation which spawned Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand. Whereas the others were obvious thoroughbreds from day one, it took Carrick time to settle. The personality and football intellect were ticked boxes, but the midfielder needed to catch up with himself physically.

“Michael came down at an early age, skinny as a rake,†Redknapp recalls. “He had a terrific football brain even then, but absolutely no strength whatsoever. He always knew what he was doing, but couldn't get around the pitch because he was so thin. Then he shot up a foot in a matter of months. He grew beyond his strength from 5'6†to 6'1â€. He was like a beanpole; no strength, growing pains and problems with his knees. It was a case of waiting for him to develop and fill out.â€

Harry was happy to wait, signing Carrick professionally in 1997. Two years later, months after scoring twice in the Hammers' FA Youth Cup final 9-0 two-legged triumph against Coventry, 18-year-old Michael made his senior debut in a 3-0 victory at Bradford. Loan deals at Swindon Town and Birmingham City beckoned, and his displays caused such a stir that even Arsène Wenger – when asked which English player he'd love to sign – said: “I'd take Carrick tomorrow.â€

Expectations snowballed, and Carrick's increasingly eye-catching form for West Ham led to a nomination for the 2000/01 PFA Young Player of the Year award, eventually won by Steven Gerrard. Just when all seemed to be building to a crescendo, so came the bum note that was West Ham's 2002/03 campaign. Carrick missed much of the season through injury, his form suffered and his popularity dipped among vexed Hammers fans. As relegation was duly confirmed, Fredi Kanouté, Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe all upped sticks. Carrick, however, ignored the stampede. “My thoughts are with West Ham,†he said. “I have a debt of loyalty to the club. We got us sent down, so we have to get us back up.â€

That stance won over the Hammers faithful, as did a season of superb performances in the second tier, which secured a place in the PFA First Division Team of the Year. West Ham's defeat to Crystal Palace in the play-off final left the midfielder at a crossroads; run, or run the risk of stagnating. With only a year remaining on his contract, West Ham were happy to listen to offers.

Harry Redknapp, by then at Portsmouth, seemed certain to be reunited with his protégé after agreeing a knockdown £2.75million fee, only for late interest from Arsenal and Tottenham to scupper it. Eager for regular football, Carrick opted for White Hart Lane, but hit an immediate obstacle – manager Jacques Santini signed him, yet seemed loath to select him. When the Frenchman was replaced by Martin Jol three months later, however, the Dutchman made him a midfield mainstay.

“The first time I saw him on the training pitch I thought: ‘he'll be an England international',†says Jol. “Everyone could see it. He's one of the biggest talents in England. He's a complete midfielder.†Carrick flourished at White Hart Lane and was named in England's 2006 World Cup squad. At this point rumours abounded of United's interest, but Carrick wasn't a new item in the shop window; he'd been on our hit-list for years.

“Michael was identified before he was at West Ham,†Reds assistant manager Mike Phelan revealed. “But West Ham got in there quick. We saw him young and always admired his talent - the timing never fell right. Around the time we signed him, we wondered whether to go for a defensive midfielder or one who could set the play rolling, and Michael fell into that category. We targeted him as a player who fitted into our grand scheme.â€



With the timing finally right for player and club, Tottenham were persuaded to part with one of their prized assets for £14million, with the potential for further payment depending on United's success. While some eyebrows were raised at the Reds' outlay, Sir Alex Ferguson had no qualms. “It was maybe two pence more than I would have paid, but no more,†he said at Carrick's media unveiling.


It was also revealed that the new boy would inherit the no.16 shirt vacated by Roy Keane. Some would have sought to distance themselves from the task of replacing a living legend, but Carrick relished the challenge. “I nearly snapped the gaffer's hand off when he offered it.†Self-assured off the pitch, his on-field approach remained composed during his bedding-in period, and a string of fine displays silenced any doubters. Two years and three major trophies later, Carrick has made himself almost indispensable.

“He gives a feeling of well-being within the team,†says Phelan. "Where other players might want to rush, he takes his time. He can take the sting out of the game, and also keep the pace of it up. It's his control, attitude and way of thinking. He's learned a lot through playing with good players, and being at a club that is constantly striving for more. He's a winner, and he wants to be the best midfielder in the country.â€

At West Ham, Carrick's was the neglected talent, often mentioned as an afterthought. At Tottenham, Carrick was the hub of flirtation with Champions League rather than the Championship. Even at United, amid the praise heaped upon the Reds' glittering stars, praise for his role in the recent silver-laden seasons has been slow in coming. But those in the know have been assured this was a talent which, like a fine wine, would mature with time.
Typically, his impact this term, rendered stop-start by injuries, has been slow to materialise. But now he's ready to bring his own carefully considered threat to our quest for silverware.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
^ I wanted to continue with another post. Should have put in a placeholder post ;)

I'm a big Carrick fan too, but I would have two more criticisms other than scoring more, but thank you for your post, because it helped me condense my thoughts on Carrick.

I love most things about Michael Carrick and man have I missed him. His cameo last night was a breath of fresh air and his passing is really second to none.

Things that I think Michael Carrick should work on and then he would almost be the perfect midfielder:

  1. Learn to play his way out when he's being closed down.
  2. Keep the passes simple, when he's having a bad day
  3. Score more

Let me elucidate:

In 2006/07 a lot of goals started with a Carrick pass - even if he did not necessarily get the final pass/assist, it was his distribution that led to a lot of goals.

However, I noticed that he would pass the ball back as soon as he was closed down. Compare this to his midfield partner, Paul Scholes would keep the ball, shield in from the opponent and look first to run with it and then to pass it.

To me this shows the opponent that he's not easily hassled and if you get away from the opponent, you already have one opponent out of position.

I've seen glimpses of Carrick starting to do this, but I think he'll be a more respected and commanding midfielder when he learns his. It will help him to stamp his authority in midfield.


Next up, and this is probably more important, whenever Michael has an off-day and has trouble finding his range, I notice that he insists on attempting those long passes.

Now, I understand that he needs to find his range, but I feel he should mix it up with short passes to keep fluidity and build up confidence.

And lastly, he needs to score more. He netted a few in his first season as a Red Devil, but neglected this last season.

I think a reason why he's not mentioned by the majority of football fans in the same breath as Gerrard and Lamps is because of his paltry goal-scoring record.

Once in a while when the strikers found it hard-going Roy Keane would pop up with a goal and I would love for Carrick to be able to contribute like that too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's half-time against Hull and carrick scored on his return. Very nice.

His passinghas been a mix of gorgeous and a few errand passes, but I'm sure glad for him to be back in the team.

Anderson also seems to be happier with Carrick back in the team and is getting forward more often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Because I'm DC said:
I agree, he was the un-sung hero of our team for the past two seasons. He proved the doubters wrong, being a success. Is it a coincidence that we've won the league every time since he arrived? Either way, he's a composed player, keeps it simple, and works for the team really well.

Today I didn't think he was at his best, passing completion rate wasn't at its usual perfection, but he did well going forward and grabbed a goal. A real boost to have him back in the team.
Spot on.

It's no coincidence that his addition to the team has coincided with two successful campaigns. He's not the only reason, but certainly an important reason.

as you said, he didn't complete as many passes today as usualy, but boy were some of them gorgeous. He's very assured too and gives the players around him confidence. Most noticeably Anderson who looked very lively today.

I'm really happy that he scored and I said in my post that it's one of the thing he should work on. Hopefully, he can make a habit out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Because I'm DC said:
I was thinking of starting a thread, but I'll just post it here:

Carrick to take Scholes' place, and not Anderson?

I don't mean long-term of course, but for this season, I think so.

About Scholes: He's been out for a bit, and I'm not saying he's out of the team now, but I don't think he should automatically retain his central midfield role when he returns. I'm really liking the Carrick, Fletcher partnership in midfield, it's allowed Carrick to get forward more, be a real play-maker, and even grab a couple of goals (yes against Hull and Stoke but...) Could he just step into Scholes' role, of being the defence-splitting passer, and tempo-controller of the team? I think so, I don't think he is or will ever will be as good as Paul Scholes in his prime, but when's the last time Scholes got forward and had a crack at goal? Yes, I realise he's older than he used to be. Fletcher would then step into Carrick/Hargreaves' role, and hopefully continue the form he's showed thus far this season.

Scholes would then take a step back, like Giggs has done for the last couple of seasons. He'll obviously get a few appearances, but his main uses would be preparing and educating the younger players. He's 34 now, he can't be playing week in week out. Face it.

Actually, didn't Carrick used to be a playmaker-type player at West Ham? Not sure.

I know we want Anderson eventually taking this role into the team. But at the moment, and I speak I think for the majority of the United fans, I'm seeing more similarities between Carrick and Scholes than I am Anderson and Scholes. Anderson needs to be more adventurous, take note of what Carrick's doing now.

Thoughts on Scholes and Carrick's similarities, differences and just generally, what will Scholes' role be at the club this term? Will he take a similar one to Giggs? I don't know, maybe I haven't seen Scholes in a couple of months (or however long it's been) and I'm not appreciating the Ginger Prince as much as I should, but we're going to have to start preparing for life after him at some point...

Or maybe I'm jumping on the bandwagon on Carrick getting two goals?!

Very good post IMO.

I think when Anderson was bought, we thought he'd be the guy to take over Scholes and Carrick was the guy to take over Keane, but you;re right that at the moment Carrick is displaying more similarities with Scholes than Anderson is.

But Anderson can get there if he puts his mind to it.

Anderson is also capable of picking a sweet pass, but not as often as Carrick and his long-range passing is not as good either.

As I said at the start of the thread, it would be great for him to start scoring and he's done that now.

Hopefully he can get forward more and either learn to carry the ball forward more often and/or score more regularly.

The one aspect that he might have problems emulating scholes is controlling a game to the same degree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Michael Carrick is our most important midfielder, but he's hit a plateau.

He's chipped with some goals this season, which is nice, but the one thing that irks me rarely carries the ball forward. He operates fine when he has lots of space, but the moment players close him down, he usually turns his back to the opponent and makes a backward or side ways pass.

He very rarely tries to shield the ball then dribble away with the ball and bring it forward like paul Scholes used to do so naturally.

(off-topic. How much do I miss Paul Scholes from his prime or from the 06/06 season?)

Giggsy does it quite well and Carrick needs to do it more often.

We're lacking drive in midfield and if opponents close Carrick down all day long there's hardly any drive coming from midfield.

Anderson is quite good at doing it, but he's not been doing that often enough this season. He's been very subdued.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Nemanjaaa said:
I doubt anyone here has 'concerns' with Carrick, IMO he has been our best midfielder this season, put in a few MOTM preformances and in general plays well consistently. He's always been one of my favourite players and people have often questioned his price tag but I think he's worth every penny, look at that game he played for England a few months back where he ran the game and even non-united supporters thought Capello should play him permanently.

He is neither a holding or attacking midfielder which in a way is a drawback as we can't have a player holding and one going forward but he is decent both ways. He tracks back well, his passing is immense, I think he and Alonso are the top passers in the Premiership and he isn't bad at finishing either. I think he's key to our title challenge.
I actually start my post stating that he's our most important midfielder, but like you said, he's neither here nor there. Not a box-to-box midfilelder either, you know. he' sprays the ball around and creates movement but he could be so much more.

his passing is sublime, let me tell you, he's the best passer of the ball in the prem, but he could and should be better. it would elevate him to en even higher level, if he could move more with the all. Drive the game forward like Lampard does.

He doesn't do it often enough and United could use it at the moment with Hargo injured and Anderson having a quiet season thus far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
forzaunited said:
i am wondering why also fletcher is untouchable .... but nani berbatov and anderson anything they do bad theres a 300 post forum about that percific touch.. wtf?!
Because ppl expect very little from him and love a "tryer" :rolleyes:
He also used to be so poor that whenever he's decent, his display is blown out proportion. He can't even complete a simple pass ffs!

Really one of my least-loved United players, BUT he's there when we need him.

Nobody will say it, but his passing is **** poor. If any other player on the pitch passed like that, fans would be calling for their heads, but because it's Fletcher it's oK.

to me, he's improved quie a bit and where i used to regard him as uselss, he is now decent and i don't get so worried when he plays.

His positioning has improved a lot and he does his defensive duties very well. His presence in the centre of the park makes it more difficult for other teams to attack and when he's given the task to mark a player, he will the hound that guy down till he doesn't want to play anymore.

He also gives his best and hustles. So I think his work rate makes ppl forgive his technical flaws.

Intersting statisitic, is that we have not lost a match that Fletcher has started this season!
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Plaudits for pass master Michael

http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={F9E570E6-407E-44BC-800F-4A3110258114}&newsid=6625833

Dimitar Berbatov may have bagged the headlines with his winning goal against Spurs on Saturday - but arguably the real architect of United's FA Cup fourth round victory was another former Tottenham man.

Michael Carrick had another impressive performance at the heart of the team, epitomised by his defence-splitting ball to Berbatov for the decisive goal in the 36th minute. That moment earned the ex-Spurs player the praise of not only his manager - "a marvellous pass by Michael Carrick" purred Sir Alex - but also from the midfield master himself, Paul Scholes.

"It was a great finish from Berba but I think you have to look at the pass as well from Michael," Scholes told MUTV. "The pass split the defence wide open. It was a great ball and Berba had the simple task of putting it in the net."

From a low right-wing corner, Carrick also set up Scholes' goal. This cancelled out the visitors' shock lead and gave Paul his first strike of the season - although some pundits have logged it as an owngoal by Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone.

"It was quite a poor start, we were sloppy, giving the ball away and they made us pay for that," Scholes reflected. "But we stuck at it, kept going forward and then got a lucky goal. Was it mine? If it was on target, yes. If not, then it wasn't."

Although he missed October, November and the early December action through injury, Scholes feels his first goal of the season was overdue. “It's not great, we're in January, in the second half of the season. You want to be scoring a bit sooner than that," he said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
peterswellman said:
IMO, I would have Hargreaves in my team over Carrick anyday of the week. A much better player and a brillant midfield.
I'm a fan of Hargreaves, but he has different qualities to Carrick and although he's not a bad passer, he certainly can't pass like Carrick. Two different type of players, whom I'm very happy to have in our squad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
He got forward on a few occasions today, which was pleasing, but the moves broke don - not necessarily his fault though.

Made a second assist for Berba, hich was flagged for offside, but really.

Carrick + Berbatov = Poetry in motion
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Cappy said:
What was most exciting to me, was seeing that last 1-2 he played where he went into the box. That is what he needs to do to become truly world class, and what he was starting to do before his injury. Hope he remembers to do that, cause that makes him so much more dangerous because every defender just turn their back to him after he passes into the box since he usually stays there as an outlet.
Agreed.

He's got a few goals and assist this seaon by going forward more often and having a pop. In the start of the thread I mention that he needs more goals to be considered (what we all know) that he is truly class.

His passing is the best in the premier league and if he starts scoring goals or getting further up the pitch he can really be a danger with his vision, his game will go to the next level.

Also wished he ran with the ball abit more and could dribble his way out of trouble instead of always shielding it and passing it backwards.

But, to be fair even ikf he makes no further improvement, I'd be very content and already am a big fan of Michael Carrick.
 
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