Manchester United fans love Michael Carrick.
The deep-lying midfielder has won it all with the Old Trafford club, including an FA Cup, five Premier League winners’ medals and the Champions League.
But most wouldn’t mention Carrick’s name among the best midfielders of his generation. In fact, the English players who would be considered first by many are the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
Despite his simple brilliance and eye for a key pass (and a trophy), Carrick has only been capped 34 times for his country in an international career that began when he was just 19.
The past three international managers have overlooked Carrick, even when he was one of United’s most consistent performers.
The Telegraph acknowledged just how under-appreciated Carrick has been as a player and, although he has suffered some injury problems throughout his career, it’s a mystery to us that his abilities are still questioned by some football fans.
In an age where accolades are awarded purely based on which superstar has bagged the most, perhaps Carrick’s lack of appreciation is down to the fact that he hasn’t scored that many goals in his illustrious career – he’s only netted 17 times in 314 Premier League games for United.
But that’s not Carrick’s game. Nemanja Matic, who signed this summer from a Chelsea who were reluctant to let him go, is the heir apparent to Carrick and, like his predecessor in the hole in front of United’s back line, both break up play and move the ball on. It’s simple, but it’s an art form.
He does, however, have the occasional eye for an absolute banger. Remember those goals of Carrick’s in the 7-1 thrashing of Roma? Of course you do.