Monday 5 December 2016

Michael Carrick can't see himself playing for any club other than Manchester United

Liam Blackburn

Published 01/12/2016 | 13:13

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick does not envisage himself continuing his career away from Old Trafford even though the Manchester United midfielder's deal is up this summer.

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The 35-year-old is in his 11th season with the club and, despite his advancing years, has pushed himself to the forefront of Jose Mourinho's plans having helped United win 4-1 against his old team West Ham on Wednesday.

His manager recently remarked how he regretted not working with a younger Carrick but hinted he will "probably" have the veteran's services for another season beyond this, hinting that an extension is likely.

Former West Ham and Tottenham midfielder Carrick insists he is laid-back over the future yet stated that a move elsewhere has not come under consideration.

Long-time colleagues Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville all bowed out as United players but some of Carrick's other former team-mates, like Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic spent their latter years at other clubs.

"It is not something I am looking to do at the minute - it would be very difficult to play somewhere else," Carrick said.

"Everyone is different. It depends on circumstance. It depends on a lot of things.

"I have said all along, I am relaxed about it (his future at United). It depends if I am playing and if I am playing well enough, if I feel I can contribute, if the manager feels I can contribute. There are a lot of things to be decided. I am quite relaxed."

In the post-Alex Ferguson world at United, Carrick is one of the few remaining links to the glorious era that the Scottish manager presided over prior to the reigns of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho.

Carrick has won five Premier League titles and a Champions League, among other honours, and maintains he remains as hungry as ever to add to his collection after United progressed to the last four of the EFL Cup.

"You can't beat that buzz of winning a big game," he added. "That is what keeps you going, having success and winning trophies. That is what I am here for."

Mourinho only handed Carrick a first Premier League start of the season last month but the Portuguese has now persisted with him in his XI in four of the past five games in all competitions.

Always proficient in possession, and with a calm aura around him, Carrick never seemed like a candidate to tail off dramatically when age affects the physical traits of a player.

"You just have to understand what you can and what you can't do really," he said of playing at a high level in his mid-30s.

"At any stage of your career, people have their strengths and what they can't do so well. You just have to put yourself in a position where you can play to your strengths more often than not. You learn that from experience.

"As long as I am enjoying it, can feel I can contribute and the manager does then great."

While Carrick is contemplating spending the final stages of his career at Old Trafford, West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher is continuing his formative years away from the club whose academy he progressed through.

The 21-year-old never played a senior game for United, having been on loan when Marcus Rashford emerged, and left for the Hammers in the summer, scoring his first goal at the Stretford End on Wednesday.

Fletcher celebrated what was an equaliser at the time but revealed his departure from Manchester was on amicable terms.

"I sat down with them in the summer and asked what their plans were for me - theirs didn't really match mine; there is no bitterness," Fletcher said.

"I love Man United. I grew up watching them and was here from the age of 13. I have got fond memories and a lot of friends here. I am thankful to them.

"I don't have any regrets with my situation. I am really happy at West Ham.

"It was purely because I wanted to play in a first team and Man United couldn't guarantee that. West Ham could, so that was simple."

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