Four Premier Leagues, one UEFA Champions League, one FIFA Club World Cup, one League Cup and four Community Shield winners medals. That medal haul surpasses the majority of England’s top clubs, let alone players.
Yet 11 medals in six seasons can only equate to 24 international caps, surely the maths doesn’t make sense?
Welcome to the international career of Michael Carrick.
The 31-year-old midfielder has often been overlooked when it comes to picking England teams and even sometimes squads.
To be fair to him, in his position he has had to contend with three of English football’s modern greats in club teammate Paul Scholes, Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Liverpool and Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard.
Those three players have been Premier League stalwarts throughout their careers meaning it has always been a tough ask for Carrick to force his way into the starting line-up.
Others such as Owen Hargreaves, Scott Parker and Gareth Barry have been preferred to Carrick as well. Their ‘defensive-minded approach’ has been seen as the ‘perfect foil’ for the likes of Scholes et al. but I think Carrick could have done their jobs and provided an added dimension as well.
While the Wallsend born player may not be as tenacious in the tackle as a Parker, for example, it could be argued and seen that Carrick is better when in possession of the football.
At international level possession is king as Spain has proved in the last six years.
Now I’m not saying England will suddenly become that with Carrick, far from it in fact, but a calm and cool collected head in possession is always a welcoming addition to any football team or squad.
A great passer of the ball with either foot, England manager Roy Hodgson, has recognised Michael’s talents by bringing him back into the national fold.
He started and starred in the August 2-1 win against Italy in which Hodgson described his performance as ‘outstanding’ alongside Lampard in midfield.
Since then he was picked for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, coming on as a half-time substitute during the former game.
At 31, some may argue that it’s too late to bring him back to the international scene when the likes of Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley have broken through. The counterargument to that is the inclusion of 30-somethings Parker, Gerrard and Lampard.
Another criticism of Carrick has been his lack of goals scored throughout his career. While undoubtedly he should score more frequently, it should be noted that he plays an important role in the build of play to allow others to score.
He may not be as high-profile as the midfielders mentioned but that doesn’t mean the job he performs isn’t as important. If Sir Alex Ferguson felt otherwise then Carrick wouldn’t have had the Manchester United career he has had for one!
24 international caps in 11 years is sad return for someone of Carrick’s ability. With Hodgson a firm fan I now expect England’s forgotten man, to come to the fore a little more.
By Luke Augustus @Luke_Augustus29