Carrick: Best is yet to come
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick believes his best football is still to come.
The 31-year-old has long been an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans and hopes he can continue to play at the top level for a number of years.
“Hopefully I’m a better player now than I was a couple of years ago,” he said.
“I feel I have improved and I’m hoping to still improve. I’ve just turned 31 and the peak time in players’ careers seems to be a little bit later so hopefully that carries on and I’ve still got the best years ahead of me.”
Carrick’s comments came from inside the England camp in Moldova, where the Three Lions are preparing for Friday night’s World Cup qualifier and the midfielder’s personal international renaissance continues. Last month Carrick pulled on an England shirt for the first time in more than two years to finally bring to an end a frustrating chapter in what has otherwise been a career strewn with highlights and silverware .
After suffering the ignominy of travelling to the 2010 World Cup and never setting foot on the pitch, Carrick was then overlooked entirely by Roy Hodgson for this summer’s European Championship, a decision that appeared to signal the end of his international career.
Hodgson, however, claimed it had all been a big misunderstanding. The England boss believed Carrick had asked not to be selected; the player insists that was never the case.
With everybody now clear on where they stand, Michael again finds himself at the heart of England’s plans ahead of a major tournament, and at a time when Hodgson has dismissed talk he’s planning to “freshen up” his squad by getting rid of ageing stars.
“It’s good news for me,” Carrick said. “I’m in that over-30 bracket now, which seems to have come around quite quickly.
“Because of the way we look after ourselves, the peak years of a player nowadays is nudging a little bit further on. I look at people like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs and they are still playing great football in their late 30s so that gives me enough inspiration.
“It was great to play [for England] again. It was over two years since my last cap so it just reflected what I felt like when I got my first cap many years ago.
“To get that feeling again was really special and I really appreciated playing for my country again and the honour that brings. It was a special night for me. I know it was only a friendly and coming early in the season some people see it as low key but for me it was a special night.
“Every ex-footballer that I have come across has said ‘play as long as you can’ because once it is finished there is no going back. I appreciate how lucky I am to be in this position and I’ll try and drag it out as long as possible.”