“It slightly amuses me when I see or hear people saying different things [about me], as if I have suddenly appeared from nowhere. I have maybe played a little bit better than I have done in the past, but I have been happy with my form for a long time really.” Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick has categorically denied that his performances this season have been markedly better than in previous campaigns.
The 31-year-old has enjoyed a sparkling year where he has been a virtual ever-present in Manchester United’s midfield, which culminated in Carrick being named as the club’s Players Player of the Season as well as featuring in the PFA Team of the Year.
But fans have been seeing these sorts of performances for the past few years and Carrick admits that he doesn’t see where the sudden spotlight has come from.
“It slightly amuses me when I see or hear people saying different things [about me], as if I have suddenly appeared from nowhere,” he said.
“I have maybe played a little bit better than I have done in the past, but I have been happy with my form for a long time really.
“A couple of people say something and it snowballs from there. Obviously you have to be doing things right on the pitch, but it is slightly strange how it has come about this season.”
It has certainly been a brilliant season with the England internationals metronomic midfield displays garnering him praise from fans, football writers and his fellow professionals.
For so long, Carrick’s performances went almost completely unnoticed with the magnificent Paul Scholes often taking the plaudits, but with the 37-year-old injured for the majority of the 2012/13 season, Carrick has well and truly stepped out of the shadows. He has emerged as the clubs best and most reliable midfielder by some distance, lending weight to his claims that he hasn’t improved by a huge amount.
And Carrick’s prolonged spell of excellent form for United has seen him earn a much deserved and long-overdue recall to the England setup.
Despite snubbing Roy Hodgson last summer after stating he wasn’t interested in being a bit-part player, United’s #16 is now firmly back in favour and insists he is focused ahead of the forthcoming friendlies against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland.
“What’s done is done, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, it’s about the next challenge and making the most of that challenge,” he added.
“The next challenge is to qualify for the World Cup and then to make your mark as a team.
“Looking back doesn’t really help you or achieve much, you should only do that when you’re retired and have your slippers on.”
Whether Carrick’s rise into the limelight this year has come because of improved performances, the decline of Scholes or a combination of a few reasons is irrelevant. What does matter is that the 31-year-old has cemented his place as one of the most important players in the squad and going into the Moyes era, we will need the Carrick’s to lead by example once again