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Sir Alex Ferguson predicts promising coaching career for Michael Carrick

by Leo Nieboer

Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Michael Carrick to enjoy a fruitful coaching career once he hangs up his boots at Manchester United.

The 35-year-old has already started to pick up his coaching badges and has spent some time with the Man United Under-14 side as he prepares for life after football.

He was awarded with another one-year extension on his existing contract last week following a season hallmarked by composed performances at the base of midfield.

And Sir Alex, speaking to MUTV, noted that Carrick, once he finally retires, will go into the coaching business with all the natural attributes needed to succeed in the dugout.

“I know about that and I spoke to Michael about it. I encouraged all the players to do that (to work with young players) and most have done it. It’s really important,” he said. 

“A lot of players don’t do anything in the afternoon after training. They go home and sit in the house, watching television or whatever. But I think they should take a keen interest in the game.

“I think players need to understand the game and, if they’re going to be a coach or a manager, understand the difference between that and being a player.

“As a player, if you’ve lost a game on Saturday, you go home and feel like all the rest of the players. You don’t understand the loneliness a coach or a manager has in terms of thinking: ‘Why did the team lose? Why did we lose that game? What is the solution?’

“It’s what you have to start thinking about as a coach or manager and Michael will do that and have to understand all that, like all young managers do. I think he has the natural attributes to do the job.”

What is the hardest thing about being a manager? Is it the galling sensation of having to tell one of your players, somebody who has worked indefatigably all week, that he won’t be in the match-day squad? Or is it those galling press conferences following a bad defeat, the watching world listening earnestly, as an array of microphones and cameras point soullessly yet demandingly towards you?

Some managers may point towards either, but thinking strictly in terms of what happens in a manager’s head, the hardest thing imaginable must be coming in to the dressing room at half time, deservedly behind and not playing well in a big game after a whole week of implementing a game plan that is overtly unravelling in front of your very eyes.

Picture the dressing room: fingers being pointed, various players barking out half-baked instructions to others, but you know full well that, regardless of what anybody says, the final decision comes to you. It is down to not just come up with a solution, but also come up with a solution that gets through to everybody.

And Carrick, you sense, would be ideal for such a scenario: the Englishman will end up playing into 2018 primarily because he has, over the years, developed an almost unspoken, heuristic understanding of how the game works, as if prescient to a passage of play that hasn’t even happened yet.



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