Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick

At Loftus Road yesterday, Manchester United fans celebrated a 2-0 win versus QPR with a rousing half-hour rendition of a chant in honour of midfielder Michael Carrick.

The 3,000 or so Reds sang “It’s Carrick, you know, hard to believe it’s not Scholes!” to the tune of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ as United secured a scrappy win to open up a 15-point gap at the top of the English Premier League.

Even as the crowds filed out of the stadium in West London, they still loudly sang the name of the 31-year-old who is enjoying an impressive season at the heart of United’s team.

It’s the first time I can remember that Carrick has been lauded by the majority of Reds fans in this way – but it astonishes me it has taken so long for this recognition to arrive.

This is his seventh season playing one of the most vital roles in the team and he has already collected four league titles with a fifth looking increasingly likely this term.

In each of the six previous seasons, he has started an average of 30 out of the 38 league games – and you don’t play centre-midfield for Manchester United and win titles thanks to luck.

He has influenced every season he has played in and collected numerous trophies because he is a sublime ball-playing midfielder who has a composure and calmness that is easily overlooked by more impatient supporters.

Part of the problem in my opinion is that many United fans thought he was brought in to replace Roy Keane – but Carrick is an entirely different type of player to the intensity of the Irishman’s style.

Subsequently, it has taken some time to win over fans who insist he doesn’t dominate games in the same way that Keane used to.

But United’s style of play has changed now and developed into a more controlled, European style which has seen results in the club getting to three Champions League Finals in four years between 2008 and 2011.

Critics say he was overwhelmed by Barcelona’s midfield in 2009, but then from where I was sitting in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on that miserable May night, that could easily be said about the whole team.

But now, as United respond to last season’s title loss to Manchester rivals City, Carrick has been finally, rightly been recognised as a player who has what it takes to run midfield, influence games and win titles.

He has now reached a point in his career where fans can revel in the fact he is not Roy Keane, and he is not Paul Scholes (even though it may be hard to believe, as the song suggests).

He is Michael Carrick, he is worthy of playing centre-midfield for Manchester United and he should be celebrated as such.

United celebrate vs QPR

Also, I quite like this picture I took after Ryan Giggs’ goal late in the game wrapped up the win for United. All 10 outfield players celebrating together. They knew it was an important game to win.

 

 

 

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