Home » Michael Carrick not yet ready for Manchester United managerial role despite impressive job at Middlesbrough

Michael Carrick not yet ready for Manchester United managerial role despite impressive job at Middlesbrough

by Alex Browne

Michael Carrick’s rise to prominence as a football manager will please a lot of Manchester United fans and many romantics out there may dream of the legendary midfielder taking a place on the United bench in the future.

The Englishman enjoyed a trophy-laden era as a player, winning every competition available to him. The classy former midfielder retired in 2018 and was also part of the coaching set up under first Jose Mourinho and later Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

After the Norwegian was sacked, Carrick was named caretaker manager and finished with a 100% success rate as his side handled two tough fixtures, winning 0-2 away to old nemesis, Villarreal and beating Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford. However, the Englishman left the club once Ralf Rangnick was appointed interim manager.

After a while out of the game, Carrick was offered the Middlesbrough job with the side languishing in 21st place in the table in October 2022.

The 42 year old has enjoyed a positive start to his career that has mirrored his former colleague on the United bench, Kieran McKenna. In fact, the Northern Irishman has already been linked to the United job and labelled as “phenomenal” by pundit Chris Sutton.

Despite being knocked out of the FA Cup yesterday against high-flying Aston Villa, Boro gave an impressive account of themselves with the Villans only finding the winner via deflection in the 87th minute.

The team from the Riverside stadium have also competed very well in the League Cup, reaching the semi-finals, where they will play Chelsea twice to make the final of the competition they won back in 2004.

Carrick’s side finished fourth last year in the league but went on to lose in the playoff semi-finals against Coventry. This year they have not fared so well, sitting 12th in the table. However, they are only four points off a playoff place in the famously ultra-competitive Championship.

The Wallsend native has already been tipped for greatness by his former boss. In an interview with The Athletic, Solskjaer claimed, “Michael is a man of value and principles, a big family man, but his knowledge is also second to none. He’s had Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho as managers, and he’s played with the best players in the world. He’s a winner but he’s still in control of his emotions. I cannot see him not being the Manchester United manager”.

The Norwegian went on to boldly assert, “I am 100 per cent sure that Michael will be the manager of Manchester United if he wants to be.”

Carrick is also popular with his players, as Nigerian striker Chuba Akpom labelled the coach, “the manager I’ve been dreaming of my whole career”.

However, in spite of a great start to his managerial career, there is danger in making a big move too early. Like McKenna, he is already at a big club in the Championship, so there is no need to rush a decision. We have seen bright young managers have their fire extinguished by challenges that are just too huge for them.

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are prime examples of this, where they both had success at lower levels but failed at Chelsea and Aston Villa. The ex-Chelsea man is currently out of work and the former Liverpool captain is managing in Saudi Arabia. A return to the Premier League for either manager is well off the cards at this stage.

Carrick probably needs to follow up last season’s success with at least another playoff spot and continue to play the type of football that have seen his side draw a significant amount of praise. Wayne Rooney’s fading managerial star is another timely warning to Carrick about making the wrong move.

Ideally, some time managing in the Premier League would also enhance the Englishman’s CV for working in one of the toughest jobs in world football. The United job is not for the faint-hearted. Just ask Erik ten Hag. Heralded as the club’s saviour last season, many fans are already calling for his head despite incredible bad luck with injuries and the ongoing takeover distractions.

Solskjaer’s prediction that Carrick will “100% be the Manchester United manager if he wants it” may come true but there is no need to rush it. It will be if it is meant to be.

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