Michael Carrick (born 28 July 1981) is an English footballer who currently plays for Manchester United as a holding midfielder. He previously played for West Ham United and more recently Tottenham Hotspur. Distinctive features of his play identified at the time of his move to Manchester United included his inventive distribution of the ball and his passing and crossing abilities. He has so far played 15 times for the England national football team.
Carrick was born to Vince and Lynn Carrick in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, and first became involved in football when he was five years old. He played five-a-side football with Wallsend Boys Club on Saturday nights, courtesy of his father's volunteer work at the club. Football became more serious for him at the age of 12 when he was selected for Wallsend Schools' and later on North Tyneside Schools'. Whilst playing for Wallsend Boys' Club under 16s, he was capped for the England Boys' club side. During the school years, and the years up until his move to West Ham United, Carrick actually played as a centre forward; it was only at West Ham where he started to play more often as a midfielder.
Having studied at Wallsend's Western Middle School and Burnside Community High School until completing his GCSE exams in 1997, he was scouted by many clubs before being taken to West Ham by Wallsend-based North East scouts Dave Mooney and Bill Gibbs, who had watched Carrick for a few years playing for Wallsend Boys' Club. Surprisingly, few clubs from the north-east, where Carrick was from, wanted to sign him, and Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp later revealed this was because he grew so much that he became clumsy with the ball and constantly had knee pains.
Carrick's professional career began at the famous youth academy of West Ham United in 1998. A notable contribution during the 1998-99 season came from him in the FA Youth Cup final, where he helped, alongside another rising star Joe Cole, West Ham to a 9-0 victory over Coventry City, scoring two goals himself.
Carrick made his senior debut as a substitute, replacing Rio Ferdinand in a 3-0 win at Bradford City in August 1999. He spent two periods on loan that season, a couple of months at Swindon Town and a month at Birmingham City, and made a few more appearances for West Ham. But in 2000-01, his exploits in his first full season for West Ham gained widespread recognition, resulting in his being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award (Steven Gerrard of Liverpool was the winner).
2002-03 was a season to forget for Carrick, as much of it for him was plagued by injury and West Ham were eventually relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season. Carrick decided to stay with the club, playing for them the subsequent season 2003-04 in the First Division. At the time, a number of clubs were credited with an interest in Carrick, such as Portsmouth, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. It appeared that Arsenal were winning the race to sign him, before Patrick Vieira decided to stay at the club, thus stopping any potential transfer.
Before the beginning of the 2004-05 season, keen to ply his trade in the highest league, Carrick then moved to Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £2.75 million. The following two seasons at Tottenham were a major success for him as Spurs enjoyed an upturn in footballing fortunes with major investments in new players and a new management. Under the guidance of Spurs manager Martin Jol, Carrick rose to fame with Spurs during the seasons 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, gaining the sort of reputation that eventually led to speculation about a move to Manchester United on 31 July 2006.
On 31 July 2006, Carrick moved to Manchester United. An initial bid of £10 million by United was rejected, though a later bid with a £14 million basic fee, potentially rising to £18.6 million depending on club and player success, was accepted. This potentially makes Carrick the fifth most expensive player acquired by Manchester United. He was given the number 16 shirt for Manchester United, previously worn by former captain Roy Keane.
He made his Premiership debut for United on 23 August 2006, coming on as a substitute in United's 3–0 away win over Charlton Athletic. He had sustained an injury in his original debut against Porto in the Amsterdam Tournament. He made his starting line-up debut against Watford on 26 August 2006 at Vicarage Road, in a match that United went on to win 2–1.
Carrick had started almost every game for United in the 2006–07 season. He was briefly injured in late December, at which point his "holding" role in central midfield was filled in by John O'Shea or Darren Fletcher. His first goal for Manchester United was on 13 January 2007 in a 3–1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
On 10 April 2007, Carrick scored two long-range right-foot curlers against Roma in United's 7–1 victory in the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford. He opened the scoring with his first, thus setting United on their way to the semi finals.
With the arrival of Owen Hargreaves at Old Trafford for the 2007–08 season, Carrick acknowledged that he was not guaranteed a place in United's first team. Carrick suffered an injury setback in October 2007, breaking his elbow against Roma in the UEFA Champions League. On 3 November 2007, he returned to action, coming on as a substitute for Anderson against Arsenal.
Carrick's first goal of the 2007–08 season came in injury time during a 2–1 loss versus derby rivals Manchester City on 10 February. His second goal came in happier circumstances with Carrick adding the final goal in the 4–1 win over West Ham on 3 May.
On 18 April 2008, Carrick agreed to sign a new five-year contract, along with defenders Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown, which would keep him at Old Trafford until 2013. The contract was finally signed on 17 May 2008.
On 21 May 2008, he played a full 120 minutes in a 6–5 victory over Chelsea on penalties to win the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. He scored during the penalty shoot-out, and collected a winners medal, the first European winners medal of his career.
On 1 November 2008, Carrick scored his first goal of the 2008-2009 season when he netted a powerful left-footed effort against Hull City at Old Trafford. Carrick then went on to score his second of the campaign against Stoke City, two weeks later, at Old Trafford .
Carrick made his first senior international start in May 2005 during England's tour of the United States, having made two substitute appearances in 2001. England manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson considered Carrick to be a good option as a holding midfielder with others such as Scott Parker and Ledley King. On 8 May 2006, Eriksson named Carrick in England's squad for the 2006 World Cup. Carrick played in one World Cup game, the second round match against Ecuador, which England won 1-0. For the next game against Portugal, it was felt that a more cautious approach was needed, thus Owen Hargreaves, who was playing at right back in the Ecuador game, replaced him.
Despite his consistent form for Manchester United, Carrick continues to be overlooked by England managers. He started games rarely under Sven-Göran Eriksson and his successor Steve McClaren. His last appearance for England was a 2-1 defeat at home to Germany in August 2007, however he was named in Fabio Capello's squad for the game against the Czech Republic however he was forced to withdraw from the squad after sustaining an injury during Manchester United's game with Newcastle.
Carrick returned to the England side on 19 November 2008 in a 2-1 friendly win over Germany in Berlin. He started alongside Gareth Barry in central midfield with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Owen Hargreaves all injured and was named by many media sources, including the Guardian as Man of the Match,
Carrick has a brother, Graeme (born 3 April 1985), who was also at West Ham United but suffered several injuries. He is now an FA Skills Coach. He previously worked at Newcastle United's Academy, coaching the U10s and U16s.
Carrick married Lisa Roughead on 16 June 2007, the same day as England team mates Steven Gerrard and Gary Neville married their respective partners.In April 2008, Lisa gave birth to a baby girl, Louise.