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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.

Carrick rallies Manchester United to win the Premier League next season

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick has suggested ahead of the first Manchester derby to be played abroad that it is the Premier League title or nothing for the Old Trafford club next season. United face Manchester City at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in a matter of hours, the third match of the pre-season tour of the United States of America. United have made two summer signings in Victor Lindelof, a £30.7 million transfer from Benfica and Romelu Lukaku, a £75 million signing from Premier League side Everton. United are looking for more additions, but as manager Jose Mourinho has suggested, the market is tough with United seemingly missing out on Ivan Perisic, Nemanja Matic, Eric Dier and possibly even Fabinho, a player the club does not seem interested in signing, at this point of the summer anyway.

United had a rather successful first season under Jose Mourinho last term winning the FA Community Shield at the start of the season, the EFL Cup (now Carabao Cup) at the end of February and finishing the season lifting the UEFA Europa League, the first time United have lifted the trophy, winning everything they have been capable of winning as a club over the years. This season Mourinho’s side will be expected to challenge in the Premier League, winning it even, for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from management at the end of the 2012/13 season. The past four years have been considered failures for United, not competing in the Premier League, which is what all supporters crave for. Last season showed United can have the winning mentality again, something which will need to return come the start of the season proper.

Carrick, the new club captain after Wayne Rooney departed for Everton nearly a fortnight ago, has suggested that he does not want his club to be one who celebrates finishing fourth in the league, only celebrating by lifting that famous trophy in May, which is what United will be dreaming about this coming season. Since Ferguson left management, United finishing as champions that season, the club has finished seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth in the Premier League, failing to challenge those teams above them, which has seen the club falter in the league. Saying that United have won three major trophies since Ferguson left, which is not bad considering the club have failed to compete and since Mourinho became the manager, the winning mentality has started to return, along with a little help from new signings; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has now left the club. Carrick, reported by The Mirror, talked about winning the league, saying:

“I can’t get my head round that, to say the top-four is acceptable. I know we’ve had changes and adjusted as players have come in and out, and you can’t expect to win the league every year, but you’ve got to set out to do that. It’s all about winning things.

“In some ways, it’s winning the league or nothing. It’s another one gone by if you haven’t won it. That’s the way I see it. We can’t be sat here saying, ­‘Finishing in the top four is a step up from last season’. That’s not what we’re about here.

“We need to be aiming for the top. It’s a big club, this — a beast of a football club. I think it has [consumed certain players] over the years. We can all see that. There is a certain level of ­expectation, standards and ­scrutiny, that you probably don’t get elsewhere.”

Carrick has won many trophies whilst playing for Manchester United, nearly sweeping the board with just the UEFA Super Cup missing from his list of achievements. The main factor which annoys the captain is that United have not challenged in the Premier League since Ferguson left, which is a poor showing and partly down to management, playing style and even certain players, some who have now left the club. The captain has confirmed that the change at the club has left everything needing to settle, which is starting to happen and once it does, United should rise from where they currently are with their heads held high ready to take on the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal aiming to break into the top four this coming season, gaining some momentum and winning that trophy for the fourteenth time in May. Carrick said:

“There’s been a lot of change at the club. When that ­happens, sometimes it takes a lot of time for people to find their feet. There have been times in the league when standards have dropped, there’s no ­hiding from that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back there again, if you keep doing the right things.

“I know we haven’t done great in the league, but we’ve still managed to win things. After the FA Cup win, for this new squad, to get that winning feeling is important. You can’t underestimate how important that can be. We managed to build on that last season. We won the Europa League, the EFL Cup and now we’re back in the Champions League.”

Carrick also talked about Mourinho being the natural successor to Ferguson, which does seem like the case at this moment in time as there is some confidence about the team, which goes a long way in sending them in the right direction aiming to reach their dreams by lifting that Premier League or even the UEFA Champions League trophy again, which is what Mourinho will want to do as the manager, earning his name on the list of successful managers to grace the dugout at Old Trafford and beyond. Mourinho is a winner, he wants his teams to be winners and that should go a long way to instill the winning mentality into his players, which has started to come through, which did show itself last season in three competitions if you could the Community Shield as such. Carrick spoke about Ferguson and Mourinho, saying:

“They’re quite different ­personalities, but of course they’ve both got that drive and desire to win, which is all that matters. Everywhere Jose’s been, he’s won. He’s a winner. He’s done it in different ways, his sides have played different styles, but he’s always found a way to win.

“Even last year, we weren’t at our best for parts of the season, but found a way to win trophies. That’s the biggest thing I can say about him – he’s a winner and his desire and drive to win rubs off on everyone.”

United have made some ground to getting to where they want to be, winning the Premier League title once again, possibly even the UEFA Champions League, which would be a fitting achievement for the manager and his team, but also something that many will suggest is beyond the remit of this Manchester United side, a bit like what was said when United needed to win the Europa League to earn a Champions League place this coming season, which was achieved. United do still have a long way to go in order to get to where they wanted to be after the retirement of Ferguson more than four years ago now, but with the mentality of the team returning to that swashbuckling one Ferguson ingrained into the side he managed, plus the hunger for the new players to earn their place in United history, it may not be long before we start to witness some great achievements at the Theatre of Dreams once again.

Romelu Lukaku will need ‘thick skin’ and will face ‘unique pressure’ to play for Manchester United

Manchester United sealed a £75 million deal for former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku a week ago today and in that time the Belgian striker has been training with his new teammates and has played his first 45 minutes for his new club, failing to score against LA Galaxy in the first pre-season match of the tour of the United States of America this summer. Lukaku will be due to play for his new club again through the night with United facing Real Salt Lake at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the second match against an MLS club, both of which are having a turbulent season. Two Manchester United legends, Ryan Giggs and current teammate and captain Michael Carrick have given their insight on the player and what he will face at his new club.

Giggs, a Class of 92 graduate and a one club player has suggested Lukaku will need to ‘develop a thick skin’. The media will scrutinise everything, rival supporters will do the same and those so-called United supporters (we all know some like that) will scrutinise too. As soon as the player does not score, makes a mistake or anything not deemed normal for a £75 million player, they will all criticise the player, thinking they know best and better than anyone else. That sort of moronic mind will spread and the player will be getting criticism from all angles. If he was playing for another club and did something worthy of criticism, nobody would bat an eyelid. Giggs, speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, said:

“He will be under scrutiny that he’s never had before at West Brom, or Chelsea, or Everton. The pressure will be on you. So he needs to develop a thick skin, he needs to listen to the coaches because that’s all that counts really. And if he misses a chance, the next one that comes along he needs to put it away because, as a centre-forward at United, you’re under scrutiny all the time.

“I think he will score goals, but you need goals from all over the park. I’ve seen a bit of [Alvaro] Morata. I’ve seen more of Lukaku. The pluses with Lukaku are obviously that he’s played in the Premier League and Jose [Mourinho] has worked with him before, and he’s got friends. He’s friends with Paul Pogba, and that makes the transition that bit easier.”

Lukaku has Premier League experience playing for Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion and Everton and last season he scored 25 goals for the Goodison Park club, which did not get them into Europe, at least not into the group stages of any competition, instead having to qualify for the UEFA Europa League at the play off stage. Wayne Rooney left United, not before time, heading back to Everton, so his experience of playing in the big competitions may aid Everton’s bid to get into the group stages of the secondary European competition this coming season. Lukaku will play in the UEFA Champions League, aiming to get himself on the elite European stage, which will be good for his development, being that he is just 24 and still has bags of potential and more time to grow in stature as a player.

United teammate and captain Michael Carrick also had some advice for Lukaku, who will at time feel like he has been stabbed in the back by journalists, football supporters and maybe even former teammates of they have the jealousy that he has been rewarded in now playing for the richest football club in the world. Carrick, speaking to The Guardian comparing his switch to United from Tottenham Hotspur spoke about the massive jump needed to get up to speed with everything at the club. He also touched on the fact he came to United after Roy Keane had left and he was compared to the Irish midfielder and expected to fill the void left by him, which he did do, but in his own way. The United captain said:

“The jump is massive. I found that myself coming from Tottenham. It’s a massive jump. You can’t really explain to people until they’ve gone through it. I’m sure he’ll find the same. But having Premier League experience is a massive bonus. He’ll know how things work week to week. It’s just about dealing with the pressure. It’s early days. It’s one week’s training and 45 minutes against Galaxy so you can’t come to any conclusions. 

“We know what he is all about, there are no surprises. We all know exactly what he brings and that is why he is here. He is not going to change his game because he has come here. He does what he does best and obviously, he’s been brought here to score goals. I am pretty certain he will do that this season. 

“When I came it was Roy Keane who came up [in comparison] but I’m my own man. Whoever comes in, you’re always your own man. He’ll be judged like anyone else: on what he does through the season and I’m sure he’s ready for that. The scrutiny will go up a level from what he’s used to. I’m sure he’s prepared for that and I’m sure he will do well.”

Lukaku will have to settle in at United, get up to speed with everything quickly and do his best on the pitch. One thing is for certain if things do not go as planned and he fails to score in matches, as long as he has put in the effort, had the work rate required and has trained to the max, the manager, Jose Mourinho will surely stick up for the player, not join in with the criticism. I am sure Lukaku will be a hit. He will be looking to break his duck in pre-season, perhaps against Real Salt Lake, the club’s second match of their pre-season tour of the United States of America. Perhaps he will be looking towards the matches against Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona, the last three matches of the five match tour of America, to make the point that he has the talent, potential and more importantly the determination to make his move to the biggest club in the world a success.

Michael Carrick confirmed as the new Manchester United captain

Manchester United have confirmed the new club captain as Michael Carrick after the departure of Wayne Rooney to Everton over the weekend. Carrick, last season’s vice-captain has stepped up his role being the longest-serving player at the Old Trafford club. The veteran midfielder player his testimonial match at the start of June, which was also Rooney’s last appearances at the Theatre of Dreams wearing a United shirt. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has played at the Old Trafford club for eleven years and after coming through for the club after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the 35-year-old started to become adored by more of the Old Trafford faithful – ‘it’s Carrick you know, hard to believe it’s not Scholes’ was sung home and away in the stadiums.

Carrick gave his response on MUTV during pre-season training in Los Angeles where the club are getting ready for their first match of the summer against MLS side LA Galaxy on Saturday evening, the early hours of Sunday morning in the United Kingdom, with the club then playing Real Salt Lake days later before competing in the International Champions Cup against the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Reported by the official Manchester United website, Carrick said:

“It feels great and it is such a huge honour to captain such a great club. It is my 12th year now and I came as a 25-year-old. I never thought I could be here for so long and achieve so much. 

“Now, to lead the boys and look after the young boys, to guide them in some ways, it is a nice thing and a real pleasure. I came to this club as a footballer and I am now a huge fan. I have grown to love the club over the years and to be in this position is very special for me.”

Carrick was asked about his captaincy style in which the likes of former United captains Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic and Rooney were mentioned along with the former England captains the player played under sich as David Beckham, John Terry, and Stephen Gerrard with the player saying:

“I will just be myself, you can’t change and it is wrong to come into the role and then suddenly change, shouting and screaming at everyone, telling them what to do.

“I am not like that. I will speak when I need to speak, but I am quite laid back and chilled out really. I will try to lead by example.”

It will be all change at United this coming season, may players have left the club post-Ferguson and United are heading into a new era. Records are there to be broken again, not stretched which could see certain players set their eyes on certain prizes, not that many will happen for a good few years yet, if at all. New signings Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku are yet to make their mark in the team, which will be a good thing to see with United needing more strength in defence and a goalscoring striker after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was released in the summer. Carrick is a good leader to have and a great player to still have in the team, which is why Jose Mourinho picked him as the new manager.

Michael Carrick is the new Manchester United captain – reports

Michael Carrick is the new Manchester United captain according to reports from The Sun journalist Neil Custis. This is obviously based on the fact Wayne Rooney returns to Everton this summer, which with the fact Everton have accepted a £75 million bid for Romelu Lukaku ahead of a summer move to the Old Trafford club. There have been various reports suggesting Rooney’s departure, which seemed to heat up over the past few days with the move possibly being complete before United head on their pre-season tour of the United States of America on Sunday, boarding a flight to Los Angeles where they will play LA Galaxy less than a week later.

35-year-old Carrick signed a new one-year contract extension earlier in the summer, shortly before his testimonial against the Michael Carrick All-Stars on the 4th June which ended in a 2-2 draw with the man of the moment scoring the equaliser for his Manchester United 2008 squad. Carrick was the vice-captain last season, wearing the armband on numerous occasions. He will be the club’s longest-serving player, which would only be fitting that he became the captain, if only for the upcoming season. Ander Herrera will reportedly be the vice-captain, which will placate some who feel he deserved the recognition but the player himself did play down calls to install him as the club’s captain in the past few months.

This will be a new generation for Manchester United with significant changes being made in just over a year, which should really set the club up for the future, not only being stable but hopefully challenging for more trophies, starting with a challenge for the Premier League title this coming season with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal in United’s way after their sixth placed finish last season. The impending departure of Rooney will be a sad occasion, not based on the fact the player if a peripheral figure at the club, nor for the fact he seems to have lost his striker’s instinct but for the fact he has achieved so much at the Theatre of Dreams during his 13-year career, which is where the sadness comes from.

Jose Mourinho seems to have recognised the need for a strong captain and his choice of Carrick, should these reports actually be true, stranger things have happened, suggest that he is doing just that, also showing good signs for the future with Herrera being selected as the vice-captain. Herrera has one year left on his contract, which he signed when he arrived at the club in 2014, also having the option of an extra year to be added on, so it could also be the time whereby United secure the Spanish midfielder to a new contract, which must be in the process of being done with him seemingly being chosen as the vice-captain, which would be great news.

Carrick and maybe Herrera should don the captain’s armband on the pre-season tour if Rooney’s departure happens before Sunday, or is much closer to happening, which means he will not be part of the travelling squad ahead of a season full of big changes. United will face LA Galaxy on Saturday 15th July 2017, the early hours of Sunday in the UK before taking on Real Salt Lake on Monday 17th July, the early hours of Tuesday in the UK. United will then be involved in the International Champions Cup facing Manchester City on the 20th July, 21st in the UK before then taking on Real Madrid on the 23rd July, the only match to be shown at a more convenient time throughout the USA Tour. Barcelona will be the final opposition in the US, played on the 26th July, half an hour after midnight on the 27th in the UK.

Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Midfield

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, now the midfielders.

Paul Pogba

The £89 million man had a bad season according to his critics with their mentality being that he cost that much so should be scoring 189 goals, assisting 1001 times and keeping 250 clean sheets a season. A transfer fee does not dictate how many goals a player will score. Some suggest he should be a striker for the money paid. I don’t get why they get involved in conversations clearly above their mentality at the end of the day. Paul Pogba has been consistent despite changing from the Serie A to the Premier League, which is a much different league but still keeping his personal stats on par with the past four seasons at Juventus. Some will never appreciate Pogba and what he does for his club. Those people need to learn to accept that they have no control in any factor concerning the player but they won’t.

Appearances: Premier League: 30, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 15, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 51

Goals: Premier League: 5, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 9

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 10, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Juan Mata

The Spaniard was set to be the first player out of the door when Jose Mourinho was named the manager of the club, based on the opinion that he sold him at Chelsea so would do the same. That did not happen and Juan Mata became an important player throughout the season. Mata suffered an injury late on into the season with Mourinho ruling him out for the remainder, but he returned week after an operation, showing the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who were still on the sidelines after seven weeks from suffering their injuries in March whilst on England duty. Mata played 41 times this season, winning three trophies, two of them major honours, scoring ten goals, which was much-needed form the midfield during the course of the season. United need to be scoring more goals from midfield, with this summer’s acquisitions important into commencing that. Mata could well remain at United after this summer, he should at least.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 41

Goals: Premier League: 6, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 10

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard is a player who has offered a lot for his club over the last few seasons, scoring in the Emirates FA Cup final, the FA Community Shield and in the EFL Cup final, something he should be celebrated for, but for some reason, supporters don’t see what he offers the team. They seem to think he is not good enough and certainly not worth of a pay rise or a new contract, which he signed earlier in the season. Lingard may not be a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque player, he has something to offer. Many choose not to see it. He may not be a guaranteed starter, and next season with new additions coming, he may not be, but as a squad player, he has something to offer, until at least he leaves the club or does something special to become a starter. Sir Alex ferguson said he would be a late developer, of which he was. Perhaps he should be given a better crack of the whip.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 42

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 5

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 6, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Michael Carrick

The veteran midfielder will race the pitch against in the coming season, signing a new contract at the Old Trafford club over the past few weeks. Michael Carrick has been the midfielder that United would not want to lose over the past season, calm and assured on and off the ball, putting in the effort needed, the majority of the time at least, which United needed in order to control the midfield. Carrick is an important player, one which when Paul Pogba plays too, sees the Frenchman able to play in a more advanced position, adding something else to United’s team. Carrick will play for another year at least, then United will have to find his replacement if he does not arrive at the Old Trafford club this summer.

Appearances: Premier League: 23, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 38

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Ashley Young

Ashley Young is probably a player who will be allowed to leave the Old Trafford club this summer. He does have some teams interested in signing him. He has done well over the past season, despite playing a more defence minded position, playing in both the left-back and right-back positions, helping his team with what they needed. Only 23 appearances will not impress him, at the stage of his career, he will need to be a starter, which could see him leave for China, Turkey or even a lower ranked Premier League club. He was wanted by Watford in January, a former club of his before he signed for Aston Villa.Young was not a player many wanted to see at the club, especially after losing Cristiano Ronaldo, but to give him his dues, he has scored some important goals, playing some important parts at the club. This season saw him end it on the sidelines through injury, which would have irked him a little.

Appearances: Premier League: 12, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 23

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Ander Herrera

The Spanish midfielder has found his purpose this season under Jose Mourinho. Ander Herrera has played a much deeper role, marking players like Eden Hazard and helping United find some form this season, beating Chelsea 2-0 at Old Trafford from probably his best match for the club in three years. Herrera is wanted by Barcelona if you believe the transfer reports in the newspapers, but the player wants to remain at Old Trafford, which has been said by his own mind and mouth. United’s midfield is much better with him in it, now that he has seemingly found his purpose. Herrera, Paul Pogba, and another midfielder will do well for United, Pogba being allowed to do what he does, not having to continually drop back and defend the midfield, using his creative aspect for the game instead. Herrera is a crucial player for United, offering everything he needed to offer, doing what he needed to do. I am sure Hazard still has dreams about him marking him out of the game, something he was unable to get through during that match.

Appearances: Premier League: 31, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 6, UEFA Europa League: 9, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 50

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Marouane Fellaini

The Belgian had a mixed season. Jose Mourinho trusts him and he trusts Mourinho. That is something we shall have to get used to should he remain at the Old Trafford club this season. Marouane Fellaini has played his part for much of the season, scoring some important goals, but he has helped undo the work United have put in, that late penalty he gave away against Everton which turned what was looking to be a 1-0 victory, into a 1-1 draw. Fellaini offers aggression and physicality in the midfield, also playing well on the attack, offering height and an eye for a goal, especially from a header. That seems to be something that many will not congratulate him for because he arrived under David Moyes, was the only summer signing of that season and was not the player many wanted. I like Fellaini for what he offers, as over the past few seasons he has done some good things, but United do need much better than him in midfield, especially for Paul Pogba to be played to his strengths.

Appearances: Premier League: 28, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 47

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 1, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 4

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 9, Red Cards: 1

Season Rating: 4/5

Ratings: Carrick scored a 20-yard stunner, Vidic and Evra were stars too

Manchester United’s 2008 side, minus a few big names, drew 2-2 with the Michael Carrick All-Stars at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for Carrick’s testimonial. The United side managed by Sir Alex Ferguson twice came back with Nemanja Vidic equalising after Gaizka Mendieta scored the opening goal and with Carrick equalising after Robbie Keane chipped Edwin van der Sar late in the second half. Missing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, John O’Shea etc, this United team played well, but so did the All-Stars. Carrick may have wanted a win, but a draw was a fair result and send him into his summer holidays in good spirits, aiming to get back to business in the new season. Here are the player ratings from the match at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Starting XI:

Edwin van der Sar: The safe pair of hands were back at Old Trafford. Despite his age, Van der Sar looks like he still plays at the top-level. Calming and assured in his area, doing what he does best. Conceded a goal scored by Gaizka Mendieta in the 22nd minute of the match, which was not something he could have come between in all honesty. Conceded again in the second half, a chipped effort by Robbie Keane, but again he had already committed himself with his effort just before the chip. 3.5/5

Wes Brown: Made his return to Old Trafford his Michael Carrick’s testimonial. Played well in the right-back position during the first half of the match, and for much of the second half. Was replaced by Graeme Carrick half way through the second half, making his return to the Theatre of Dreams memorable. 3/5

Nemanja Vidic: The Serbian put the game on level terms in the 28th minute, scoring a header from a Ryan Giggs corner, showing Wayne Rooney how to score from a header being that the captain missed his opportunity to score minutes before. Vidic played a good first half for United, showing Chris Smalling what is expected from him and considering the Serbian has been retired for 18 months now, Smalling should be embarrassed. 3/5

Rio Ferdinand: The former world record defensive signing made his return back to the Theatre of Dreams a few years after he ended his career as a footballer. Ferdinand was back to his best in the first half, showing his skill and class as a player. United have missed players like him and Vidic, but with Bailly and a capable partner coming in the summer, we could see something similar once again. Ferdinand only played in the first half, resting the second on the sidelines. 3/5

Patrice Evra: The Frenchman loves this game. He loves Old Trafford and Old Trafford loves him. Evra showed the likes of Luke Shaw what is expected. Shaw has not lived up to his own expectations and Evra did that with his 90 minute display for Carrick in his testimonial. Evra set Rooney up for a headed effort, the United captain failing to hit the target. Evra has turned back the years with his performance, showing glimpses of United of old, which was much welcome. 3.5/5

Ji-Sung Park: The South Korean with three lungs was back at Old Trafford this afternoon, doing what he did best, running throughout the match. Park was a great player during his time, not the star and certainly not the worst player at the club, doing what was expected, not actually expecting to be credited with anything. Park was a model professional, as he was during the 90 minutes he played today. 3.5/5

Michael Carrick (C): The man of the moment, after all, this was all for him and his achievements during his amazing career at United. He’s won everything, well apart from the UEFA Super Cup, which will see United go head to head with Real Madrid in August. Carrick played well, doing what he needed to do during the match. Got his name on the score sheet in the final seven minute of the match, scoring from 20-yards to equalise for United, avoiding the defeat. Was replaced five minutes from time by Scholes, the man he effectively replaced at the club. It’s Carrick, you know. Hard to believe it’s not Scholes. 4/5

Paul Scholes: The master of the midfield, back at the Theatre of Dreams. He still cannot tackle, which was something only Scholes could get away with, but boy were his passes still on par. His effort to set up Rooney was great, with the United captain chipping Given, not getting his shot on target. Scholes could still play today, at the top-level for United. Scholes did not come back out with the team at the start of the second half, but played the last five minutes, replacing Carrick himself. 3.5/5

Darren Fletcher: Not missed a league match for West Bromwich Albion since he left United two years ago. Has now signed for Stoke City to prolong his career. Seemed to turn back the time for United in the first half, pushing forward and generally helping United’s midfield advance into the All-Stars final third, pushing to win the game. Inspired by the boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. Played 90 minutes, doing what was expected, without praise or wanting to make a big deal of what he had done. Model professional and one for some of the younger players to look up to, despite him no longer being at the club. 3/5

Ryan Giggs: The Welsh winger made his return to Old Trafford three years after hanging up his boots. Giggs turned back the time, putting in a 90 minute performance on the wing, assisting the first equaliser from the corner with Vidic heading home. Giggs marauded up and down the wing to help inspire United to the victory, but the draw was good enough. Giggs is a player who had mountains of skill and potential, achieving everything he wanted to as a player. As a manager, if he is given the chance, he could prove himself there too and possible return to United at some point – wishful thinking. 3/5

Wayne Rooney: One of the youngest players on the pitch today, one of a few still playing. Not the greatest on the pitch. The likes of Scholes, Giggs and even Evra to a point showed Rooney up. Clarence Seedorf seemed to have more ability than Rooney, who has had a long season, but should be in peak physical condition. Made a big deal of not being awarded a penalty, which was perhaps pathetic, it only being a testimonial match. Came off at the end of the first half, replaced Graeme Carrick 16 minutes from time. 2/5

Substitutes:

Gary Neville: Came on at the start of the second half for Ferdinand, had a shot on goal, which seemed to go nowhere and out for a throw-in. Monday Night Football next season will have a pop at that, I am sure Jamie Carragher will bring it up at some point. Seemed to be rising to the occasion using banter to help him succeed. Good to see him play again, though. 2.5/5

Mikael Silvestre: Replaced Vidic at the start of the second half. Put in a good shift in the second half. 2.5/5

Graeme Carrick: Replaced Wes Brown in the 61st minute of the match. Did a job on his brothers testimonial. Was replaced by Rooney in the 74th minute of the match. 2.5/5

Owen Hargreaves: Did not get onto the pitch. Not sure I actually saw him in any of the coverage of the match. 0/5

Dimitar Berbatov: Came on for Scholes at the start of the second half. Could have scored for United, but did not get his shot on target. Played well, despite being out of position. 3/5

Louis Saha: Replaced Rooney at the start of the second half. Had a great chance to equalise at 2-1 down, but put the ball into the Stretford End rather than into the back of the net. 3/5

Report: Carrick earns United a late 2-2 draw at Old Trafford

Manchester United’s 2008 side led by Sir Alex Ferguson in front of 70,027 supporters at Old Trafford against a Michael Carrick All-Stars side, drawing 2-2 with goals scored by Gaizka Mendieta, Nemanja Vidic, Robbie Keane and Michael Carrick.

Michael Carrick played his testimonial at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, bringing back the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ji-Sung Park, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and current teammate Wayne Rooney, all starting the match. Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre, Owen Hargreaves, Dimitar Berbatov, Louis Saha and Graeme Carrick, the brother of the veteran midfielder were all on the bench. Sir Alex Ferguson returned to the dugout leading the United 2008 side, which was minus a few of the players which made that team great.

Harry Redknapp managed the Michael Carrick All-Stars XI with Shay Given, Jamie Carragher, John Terry, Eric Abidal, Clarence Seedorf, Gaizka Mendieta, Marcos Senna, Damien Duff, Michael Owen and Robbie Keane all started, with Alex Bruce, Joan Capdevila, Phil Neville, Richard Garcia, Sinclair and Eidur Gudjohnsen all on the bench. Carrick entered the pitch from the old tunnel with his children and in the middle of all the players playing today were all the trophies Carrick had won with United, just the UEFA Super Cup missing with Carrick and United looking to add that to the collection in August against Real Madrid in Macedonia.

Before the match, Carrick and the Old Trafford faithful paid tribute to the Manchester attack almost a fortnight ago and the attack in London on Saturday night, which together both claimed the lives of 29 people, with many more still in hospital’s in Manchester and London recovering from their injuries. We all stand together.

United started the match well, looking to entertain the crowd with some attacking football, even though Rooney was the youngest player on the pitch, in a red shirt, there were some old faces who still looked like they could play at the top-level; Vidic, Ferdinand, Park and even Giggs. Evra has the best chance of the opening twelve minutes, getting taken out on the box but not given a penalty. A minute or so later, Scholes put in a pinpoint pass to Rooney, who tried to chip Given, hitting the roof of the net, just off target.The All-Stars took the lead through Mendieta in the 22nd minute of the match with a sublime finish by the Spanish midfielder. Rooney had a good chance to equalise after Evra crossed into the box, but the United captain could not get his head to the ball to make the difference.

Nemanja Vidic showed Rooney how to score a header in the 28th minute of the match, levelling the score with a decent finish from Ryan Giggs corner. Game on. United seemed to be the team getting the better possession, despite the All-Stars getting the opening goal of the game. United just seemed so much more capable of getting forward and making the difference, despite failing with earlier chances. Vidic’s goal gave the team the confidence to push for the victory. It only being a testimonial does not matter, Ferguson would be pushing for the plaudits and he will enforce that with his team. In the 35th minute, the All-Stars made a triple substitution with Phil Neville, Joan Capdevila, Eidur Gudjohnsen replaced Abidal, Duff and Owen.

After the changes, United looked even more resurgent on the ball, looking for that goal to put them in the lead. Scholes had a chance to put United ahead, just missing the target, which was unfortunate. Vidic, who had retired from the game around 18 months ago, but seemed to have more ability than Chris Smalling has, despite being nearly eight years his junior. The first half ended 1-1, which was fair. Carrick did have a chance to put his side ahead, but was off target. The break will be something many were waiting for, with changes expected in the second half with Ferguson and Carrick looking to end this testimonial with another victory under their belt.

At the start of the second half, Sir Alex Ferguson made a few changes with some players looking for a rest. Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha and Dimitar Berbatov all came on for Scholes, Ferdinand, Vidic and Rooney. Alex Bruce and Richard Garcia replaced Mendieta and Salgado for the All-Stars. Gary Neville had a chance to score early in the second half, putting it out for a throw-in, something which will no doubt br brought up by Jamie Carragher at some point next season, if not before. Just before the hour, Saha put in a great strike with Given making a great save to deny him from scoring. Neville, trying to prolong United’s attack got taken out by Carragher, with a free-kick being taken and Saha striking again.

In the 61st minute of the match, Graeme Carrick, brother of the midfielder replaced Wes Brown. Robbie Keane had the chance to put the All-Stars ahead, making a terrible attempt of it. Seedorf was replaced by Duff in the 64th minute. Keane put the All-Stars ahead in the 64th minute, chipping Van der Sar and finding the back of the net. The All-Stars were 2-1 up and United now had work to do. United had another change to level through Dimitar Berbatov in the 69th minute, but his effort was not threatening enough. In the 74th minute, Rooney came back on to replace Carrick’s brother, and Trevor Sinclair replaced Senna for the All-Stars.

Rooney could have changed the game for United, has he still had his vision for a pass. At the other end of the pitch, Keane went for the chip again, hitting the roof of the net. In the 80th minute, Garcia was replaced Salgado and Abidal replaced Capdevila for the All-Stars. United were still 2-1 down with less than ten minutes remaining. Saha was set up with a brilliant change to equalise, hitting the ball into the Stretford End rather than the back of the net. Unlucky. Carrick levelled for United in the 83rd minute from 20-yards to a standing ovation from the Old Trafford faithful. Fitting for his testimonial. Carrick was replaced by Scholes in the 85th minute of the match. Owen Hargreaves is the only player to not have been on the pitch for this United side, how fitting. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, which was a fair result.

Goals: Nemanja Vidic 28′, Michael Carrick 83′

Assists: Ryan Giggs 28′, Wayne Rooney 83′

Manchester United 2008 XI: Van der Sar; Brown (G. Carrick 61′ (Rooney 74′), Vidic (Silvestre 46′), Ferdinand (Neville 46′), Evra; Park, Carrick (Scholes 85′), Scholes (Berbatov 46′), Fletcher, Giggs; Rooney (Saha 46′)

Substitutes Not Used: Hargreaves

Confirmed XI: Carrick the captain, Vidic and Ferdinand are back

Sir Alex Ferguson returns to the dugout at Old Trafford this afternoon for Michael Carrick’s testimonial which will reunite some of the players from 2008 when Manchester United won the Premier League and UEFA Champions League double. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes – it will be a great match showing some of the best players to play for the club in the last decade. Steven Gerrard pulled himself out of the opposition team for this afternoon’s match, leaving Frank Lampard, Michel Salgado, Eric Abidal, Gaizka Mendieta, Clarence Seedorf, Michael Owen and Robbie Keane, managed by Harry Redknapp. This will be a big occasion for Carrick, who recently signed a new one-year contract at the Theatre of Dreams, aiming to win the only major trophy he has not won in his career at United, the UEFA Super Cup. Here are the starting XI’s for each of the teams, including the substitutes;

Manchester United 2008 XI:

Van der Sar;

Brown, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra;

Park, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs;

Rooney

Substitutes:

Neville, Silvestre, G. Carrick, Hargreaves, Berbatov, Saha

Michael Carrick All-Stars XI:

Given;

Carragher, Terry (c), Abidal;

Seedorf, Mendieta, Senna;

Duff, Owen, Keane

Substitutes:

Bruce, Capdevila, P.Neville, Garcia, Sinclair, Gudjohnsen.

Wayne Rooney will be involved for Manchester United this afternoon, which could be his final farewell to the Theatre of Dreams as his future is up in the air with a decision on his future possibly already made. The return of Louis Saha and Dimitar Berbatov will be a good sight, especially for the latter, who was a fans favourite, at least once he had left the club as many did not appreciate his brilliance on the pitch on his day.

Rise To Fame: Sean Goss – The next Michael Carrick?

Sean Goss was signed by Manchester United from Exeter City back in the summer of 2012 for an initial fee of £100,000, according to reports by the BBC at the time. Goss, who was 16 at the time he was scouted scored 13 goals for Exeter City U16’s that season, which earned him a trial at United. He played in a youth tournament in the Netherlands, promptly joining the Academy that summer. Speaking to the official Exeter City website at the time of his signing, and joining his new teammates at the AON Training Complex in Carrington, Goss said:

“The last few days haven’t felt real – seeing all the first-team players around and the training facilities is like a different world. I can’t wait to get started now and we’ve got pre-season games coming up. I just have to continue working hard and my aim now is to just push higher and higher through the ranks.”

During the 2013/14 season, after representing the U16’s for United, Goss was promoted to the U18 side, then led by Paul McGuinness. Goss made a total of 28 appearances that season, scoring six goals and assisting a further three. Also making four appearances for the U19 side who participated in the UEFA Youth League that season, failing to score or assist a single goal. That took Goss’ total season tally to 32 appearances, six goals and three assists, which was not all that bad at that level. During the 2014/15 season, Goss was promoted to the U21 side, led by Warren Joyce, where he made 10 appearances, scored once and assisted once. His season was cut short by injury, which would be something that defined his career at United over the next few seasons. During the 2015/16 season, an injury would again cut into Goss’ season, but he managed six appearances, scoring once and assisting three other goals. In March 2016, Joyce would rule Goss out for the remainder of the season, which started with him being on the treatment table, saying:

“Obviously, Gossy has been out a while now and at a time when he was flying really as well. Injuries happen and it’s held his development up really but he’s got to come back and start to pick up the reins from where he was and kick on because he was looking an accomplished player. 

“He is the type of player you are looking at in a side as being vital to the way we play. We haven’t quite got the same type of player as him. Obviously, with some of the chances people have been getting in the first team, technically wise, he might have been able to help them out as well.

“The injury is disappointing as he was on the first-team tour and it’s really frustrating for him but sometimes really bad things happen in your career and make you mentally tougher. He’s got to come through and come out the other way – that’s the aim for him.”

Goss returned from his injury this season, something he hopes to put behind him. So far, he has made three appearances for the U23’s now led by Nicky Butt, albeit temporarily after Warren Joyce left for the management position at Wigan Athletic. Goss has yet to find the back of the net for the U23’s but has assisted in a goal, something the side find hard to create after starting the season without an out-and-out striker, something which will need to be added to the team in the January transfer window. Goss is currently contracted at United until the summer of 2019, which gives him two and a half years to find his way into the first team, having been compared to Michael Carrick early into his United career. Goss shares some similarities with Carrick, which he discussed in an interview with Manchester United last season, saying:

“It’s a good thing to hear. Obviously, I look up to him as a player and I like to play like that. He has come down and trained with us and it gives you an idea of what it is like to be in the first team so you take notice of that.

“He is one of my favourite players in the first team and I do look up to him. I want to play like him as well, spreading passes, keeping the ball and trying to read the play, while getting on the ball as much as I can.”

Whilst it may be too soon to compare players to high-ranking first team players at the club, the similarities are there, they were when Goss was signed by United just over four years ago now. That being said, he has a lot of hard work ahead of him in order to find a place in Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad, but the Portuguese has previously stated that youth is something he values, despite it not looking like the case when he last managed Chelsea. Goss has some big boots to fill with Carrick, but if he continues to impress at the U23 level, maintains his place in the team, Mourinho will notice him, especially in that Carrick, being 35 now, will not play on forever.

There are suggestions, made by Mourinho himself, that he would offer Carrick a one-year contract extension before the summer, keeping him at the club for a further year, which would give Goss the time to get the managers attention by playing to his strengths and start to show that he could be a contender to replace Carrick in the first team, even play as his understudy next season, or later this season, should he warrant the chance.

copyright: JW