Michael Carrick looks ahead of a good 2017/18 Premier League campaign

Michael Carrick has been named Manchester United captain for the current season, replacing Wayne Rooney who joined boyhood club, Everton this summer. Carrick, a vice-captain for United before this summer has had the role for about a month, throughout the clubs pre-season tour of the United States of America, Norway, and Ireland, not actually changing his approach as he already knows what being a winner is like. The 36-year-old will start his twelfth season with United today when the team takes on West Ham United in their opening Premier League game of the season. Carrick has played more than 450 times for his club, winning 17 trophies along the way, three of those coming in Jose Mourinho’s debut season at United manager.

Carrick may play a small part for United this season with new summer signing Nemanja Matic coming in to boost the side, which he has done in the one and a half matches already played for the club since he signed almost three weeks ago. The United number 16 is proud to wear the captain’s armband and has stated that he is confident of achieving with the club this coming season with Mourinho’s side expected to challenge for the Premier League title, winning it, which is what Mourinho has done in his second season at every club he has managed. Speaking to the United Review and reported by the official Manchester United website, Carrick said:

“It is difficult to say what our chances in the league are but we are setting out to be on top. We have certainly improved the squad, we look stronger, we are a year further ahead with the manager and his staff, we are in a better place than we were last year, so things are on the up.

“For large spells of last season, we felt we should have been higher up in the league than we were and performances certainly warranted that for large periods as well. But it is too easy to sit here and say that. We need to improve because we ended up a distance away from the top. Hopefully this season we will be right up there challenging.”

Manchester United have not lifted the Premier League trophy for four years now. At the end of the season, it will be five years. Carrick was asked if winning the Premier League would be a priority for United this season, who are also back in the UEFA Champions League but after a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday evening, it has shown United still need much improvement to challenge the best teams in Europe. Speaking about prioritising the Premier League, Carrick said:

“The league is special because it is such a tough division to win. When you come out on top it is an unbelievable feeling to know you are the best team in the country, and you have gone through all sorts of things along the way to win that.

“Cup competitions are special because it is a slightly different feeling. Winning a trophy is winning a trophy and the feeling you get from it is incredible. There are obviously bigger competitions than others, but we will certainly be fighting on all fronts to win as much as we can.”

Carrick’s first United match as captain, if he plays will come against his first professional club, West Ham United. The Hammers have strengthened considerably this summer loaning Joe Hart from Manchester City, also former City fullback Pablo Zabaleta, and bringing in former United striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen, and Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City. Carrick spoke about former teammate Chicharito, stating that he hoped he did well, but not at Old Trafford today. The captain concluded by saying:

“Yeah, I think they have improved. Obviously, Chicha is there now and hopefully, he doesn’t come back and do too well in the first game! But I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

Manchester United have a big season ahead of them. The Premier League should be a priority on the road to greatness once again. Playing in the Champions League will be great, but United will not be tipped to win it, but you cannot blame them for trying, which is what we want to see. United face West Ham United at Old Trafford this afternoon, the first Premier League match of the season and the first at Old Trafford. If the Theatre of Dreams is to be a fortress again, three points and a demolition will be needed today. Carrick, Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and the rest of the team will be raring to get started.

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