It isn’t often a player hangs around at a club long enough to warrant a testimonial in modern football. Money motivates many to fly the nest before they can truly be seen as a club legend. Unfortunately, this is a trend that can only be seen continuing as the gargantuan sums of money offered by the Chinese Super League offers a new temptation for players. Fortunately, the last of a dying breed are still present. One such example of this is Michael Carrick who has been rightfully awarded his testimonial today by the club.
A loyal servant since his move from Tottenham Hotspur what seems a lifetime ago in 2006, Carrick has amassed 4-4-3 games thus far and seems to be far from done in the senior side. Carrick will play his testimonial for a Carrick All Star XI, for whom Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen are rumoured to be turning out for. The opponents? Members of the 2008 Premier League and Champions League winning side of whom Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville are confirmed as playing. June the 4th is the date it will be played on, with proceeds being given to charity.
It is a well-deserved tribute to a man who has given 11 years of service to Manchester United. Not always the centre of attention, Carrick’s importance was only really highlighted later on in his career once the likes of Paul Scholes were a distant memory. Never one to be flash, Carrick even now controls the tempo of the game and plays at an almost pedestrian pace as he seamlessly links defence and attack. The song proclaims it is hard to believe it’s not Scholes, and they’re not far wrong. A passing range the great man would be proud of is no mean feat.
He still holds many naysayers amongst his own fan base. At his rather advanced age, many believe Carrick should be left playing a lesser role in the fortunes of Jose Mourinho’s squad, and they’re probably right. The fact of the matter is the manager simply cannot afford to be without his midfield maestro, mid-30’s or not.
He is the heartbeat of the side under Mourinho, and every manager he has played under for that matter, and it is no coincidence his absence is felt so heavily. Had Carrick been fit and able to start on Sunday, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind Southampton wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near United on their path to glory.
Michael Carrick won’t be the name most put first on their list of United legends. His name won’t stick in minds as much as George Best, Roy Keane, Sir Bobby Charlton’s et al, but having been a mainstay throughout the clubs most successful period and continuing that into the attempted rise from the flames, you can’t ever doubt that Carrick deserves his place in folklore forever more. Thank you for your service, Michael. Now about that revival…..