Why I've Come in from the Cold ; Michael Carrick on How He Knew It Was Time to End His England Exile

Manchester Evening News, September 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Why I've Come in from the Cold ; Michael Carrick on How He Knew It Was Time to End His England Exile


IT didn't take any grand gestures to tempt Michael Carrick out of international 'retirement'.

Roy Hodgson merely had to convince the United midfielder that his talent would get the opportunity it deserves as part of his England regime.

Carrick felt so disenfranchised under Fabio Capello that he declared himself unavailable for international selection.

Consigned to the fringes under the Italian, he informed the FA that he no longer wanted to be considered for selection so long as he was making up the numbers.

It wasn't so much a case of pampered Prima Donna throwing his toys out of the pram.

Rather a pragmatic decision of a 31-year-old who had been continually overlooked at international level.

As a result, England were robbed of Carrick's touch and composure in midfield during Euro 2012 - a tournament that only emphasised their technical deficiencies in that area. Having seen his side passed to death by the brilliance of Italy's Andrea Pirlo in their quarter-final exit, Hodgson wasted no time in wooing Carrick back into the fold.

Former United team-mate Gary Neville acted as an envoy in the bid to convince him that he still had a part to play for his country - and that was all the persuasion he required to quash plans of a retirement.

"I am not different or any more special than the rest of the lads," said Carrick. "I don't need assurances or guarantees of any kind, just a fair chance.

"If I am playing well then I want to get a chance. If I'm not, then fair enough.

"Anyone who knows me knows my ego is not big enough to think I should be here and expect to play.

"That's the manager's choice. It's just up to me to stay in the squad for starters and then hopefully push to get a place in the team."

Should Carrick figure against Moldova tonight then it will be only his sixth competitive match in an England career spanning 11 years.

The World Cup qualifier will be his first match of any consequence since October 2006.

Despite making his debut as a 19-year-old, he has suffered more than most as a result of the amount of managerial changes in his England career.

Sven-Goran Erikssen took five years to hand him his first competitive match. …

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