Date: 3rd July 2008 at 9:06pm
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There are many amazing things in football. Brazil 1970; the fact that very few women can ever understand the offside rule; that people actually believe Liverpool are going to win the title under Benitez.

But for me, none more amazing at the moment than that Michael Carrick still has to answer to doubters who are not convinced by two seasons’ worth of solid, reliable displays which played a huge part in United’s success.

He of course came with a huge price tag and got the No. 16 shirt which was bound to add to the media’s expectation – and unfortunately, many United fans jumped on to the Carrick-slagging bandwagon.

‘I didn’t feel any weight of expectation,’ Carrick insisted to Setanta. ‘People were talking about it, but it is only a shirt and doesn’t make too much difference.

‘You’ve got to go out there and play your games so it didn’t really make too much difference to me.


The argument most often brought forth was that he’s not a midfield enforcer in the mould of Keane, he can’t be expected to run from box-to-box, tackling everyone in sight and leading the team as Roy did. It was said he was only a silky passer with good intelligence on the field and not a proper hardman.

And what happened? Carrick provided silky passing and timely interceptions, exactly what could be expected of him and he did this at a very high standard. Yet some regarded this as a disappointment, despite that fact that his style fitted into United’s football which brought us a league title in his first season.

True, I also criticised him at the autumn of 2007 – he simply wasn’t performing up to the standards he had set for himself. But in the second half of the season he regained his form and produced some absolutely brilliant displays.

He added a Champions League title to his collection as well, converting his penalty in the shootout – and he’s still got to face journalists who are questioning him about alleged doubters. What does he need to do? Turn into Roy Keane?

Everyone knew from the start that he’s not Roy Keane so why blame him for it? He’s a different character and a different player with a different style – but so far, the same success.