Carrick was nowhere near as good as some people make out
By Michael Benson – @michaelbensonn
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Let’s be honest about it now he’s retiring; Michael Carrick was an alright footballer.
In his prime, he was good enough to play for Manchester United in that deep-lying central midfield role, but he’s always been one of their lesser players. He has never been a star and was certainly NOT underrated.
In fact, so many people bang on about how “underrated” Michael Carrick supposedly was that he’s actually now actually become massively overrated.
I’m not sure who first perpetuated the myth that Carrick has been some sort of secret ‘English Xavi’ for the past decade, but he’s retiring now, so can we finally let it die and just tell the truth about him?
Michael Carrick was a decent player, but he was basically just an English John Obi Mikel.
Not an English Xavi, not an English Busquets, not an English flippin’ Lothar Matthaus – an English Mikel.
According to Squawka, in every Premier League season dating back to 2012/13 (which is as far back as their website goes) John Obi Mikel had a higher pass completion rate than Michael Carrick.
There was normally only 1-2 per cent difference between them, but it is still ridiculous for a player who is supposedly so underrated to get outdone on one of his key attributes by Chelsea’s defensive midfielder.
If you instead compare Mikel with Xavi, the Spaniard tops the Nigerian in every season by about five per cent.
Meanwhile, United fans sing Carrick’s name to the tune of ‘Magic’ by Pilot, shouting: “It’s Carrick, you knowww, hard to believe it’s not Scholes.”
Are you all nuts? Paul Scholes is one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, he’s perhaps the closest thing to an ‘English Xavi’ we’ve ever had.
Michael Carrick may be from the same country as him, he may wear the same shirt as him and may play in a similar position to him, but that’s where the comparisons should end.
I’m aware this chant is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but some people speak so highly of Carrick it’s as if they’re taking it seriously!
At the end of the day, everyone talks a good game about Carrick being underrated, but there’s ultimately a defining factor which proves this was always nonsense: He’s never been approached by any other major club in Europe.
Look at Scholes who was chased by Inter back in 2000, when their team was littered with the likes of Seedorf, Zanetti, Vieri, Baggio and Ronaldo. Or look at Xabi Alonso who left Liverpool for Real Madrid and went on to play for Bayern Munch. Look at Javier Mascherano who forged a career at Barcelona.
And then look at Michael Carrick – linked with Inter and AC Milan in 2015, who had just finished 8th and 10th in Serie A respectively. Aside from that – nothing.
The reason Michael Carrick has stayed at Manchester United for so long is because he simply wasn’t good enough to be wanted elsewhere.
So let’s stop all this rubbish about him being some under-used, underrated second coming, eh? If he were, he wouldn’t have spent his career as one of the lesser players at a top club, just like John Obi Mikel.