Carrick relishing the role of elder statesman
Published 16:11 02/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Michael Carrick is happy to accept the additional responsibility that comes with being one of Manchester United's 30-somethings.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise onto Carrick's shoulders today, confirming the midfielder has been one of the greatest influences in their battle for Premier League supremacy.
Carrick certainly seems to have come into his own this term and there were plenty who felt he should have been in Stuart Pearce's England squad for Wednesday's friendly with Holland.
The 30-year-old believes his improvement has come through the extra pressure of being an elder statesman in a squad that lost so much experience with the departures of Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown, John O'Shea and, for a time, Paul Scholes last summer.
"Responsibility comes with experience and age is a big factor in that," said Carrick.
"There was a huge turnaround in the summer.
"The lads who left were all hugely experienced. The ones who came in, or back from loan, were younger.
"All of a sudden I was seen as one of the older ones - and I am, I am 30 now.
"I haven't got a problem with that. You have to set an example to the lads coming through and keep the traditions of the club going.
"Hopefully I have done that."
Now in his sixth season at United, Carrick is the veteran of four Premier League title wins.
He is becoming an example for others to follow, in just the same way as Ryan Giggs and Scholes have been for so long.
However, it was the shock return of Scholes in January that has probably lifted his game to an even higher level given the pair have previously been such an effective central midfield partnership.
"It is great to have Paul back," said Carrick.
"I wouldn't say I missed him because you have to move on quickly but he is one of the greats of English football and to play with again is great.
"We have a good understanding and enjoy playing with each other.
"We have had some good games already this season and hopefully there are more to come."