Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has revealed moving to West Ham United as a youngster was the best decision he has ever made.
The 33-year-old decided to join the Hammers as a trainee after spending time at 15 clubs on trial.
Playing alongside the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard, Newcastle-born Carrick graduated from the academy and went on to make over 150 appearances for the London club.
He eventually left West Ham to join Tottenham Hotspur before joining Man United in an £18.6m move in 2006. Carrick revealed he was glad he chose West Ham as they played a crucial part in his development.
Speaking about the move, Carrick said: “Moving to London at 15 was a struggle, but the best thing I ever did.
“The first three or four months were tough. The football was great, but when you were going back [to where you were staying] you didn’t have someone there. You didn’t have a mobile phone back then, it was a case of going to the phone box [to call home].
“Things like that now you take for granted but then it was a big deal.
“But it helped me grow. It shaped me a lot faster than if I’d stayed in Newcastle and been pampered. I was almost fast-tracked into thinking, ‘This is how the big world is and you’ve got to grow up fast’.”
United should be thankful to West Ham for playing their part in producing a wonderfully gifted footballer.
The Englishman has been an instrumental part of United’s strong end to the season, dominating the midfield in games against Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool. Carrick is also starting to get recognised on an international level and is establishing himself as a central figure of Roy Hodgson’s side.