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Michael Carrick legacy is giving Manchester United the key to sustained success

Michael Carrick has left Manchester United with immediate effect after the arrival of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager of Manchester United for the next six months.

Even though the departure of Carrick was with no ill will and didn’t coincide with Rangnick’s arrival, the Manchester United legend has decided to walk away from the club he has called home since 2006.

The former midfielder has recently been in charge as interim manager of United himself, going unbeaten in his three games, winning against Villarreal and Arsenal, and drawing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Before his interim hire, Carrick was the first-team coach, starting immediately after his retirement as a player back in 2018.

Spending decades under Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Carrick has seen the best and worst of Manchester United.

The United On My Mind team of editor Mike Parrott and writer Casey Evans wanted to thank the United legend after 15 incredible years of Carrick dictating play as a player and as a coach at Manchester United.

Mike Parrott says… The failed heir to Roy Keane, but for the better

When Michael Carrick joined Manchester United in 2006 for a fee that eventually rose to just under £19 million, there were many critics.

The biggest hit on Carrick was inheriting the number 16 from Roy Keane, who had just left the club in a very uninspiring way after falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson.

United fans were expecting a world-class talent.

Of course, as we all know, he did become that, but the majority of Carrick’s career went very underappreciated. With Ferguson bringing in Carrick to replace Keane, it showed a culture change at United.

Gone were the days of the whole team attacking with pace and directness, Carrick alongside the added instruction from assistant manager Carlos Quieroz, turned United into a possession-based team, and Carrick symbolised that perfectly.

While many fans criticised him as someone who only passed sideways, he was the Sergio Busquets before Sergio Busquets. His ability to dictate tempo, his passing, as well as cover for the older Paul Scholes in midfield, didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates; including by Scholes himself:

“I remember Michael coming in and taking over the number 16 shirt from Roy Keane, one of the Premier League’s best-ever midfielders. He had big boots to fill, but I think he’s proven that he’s more than worthy of the shirt. I loved playing with him. I always felt comfortable and safe next to him, and he probably didn’t get the credit he deserved at the time, but he’s starting to get that now.

When Michael plays, United usually win, and I like that there’s nothing flashy about him. He never broke a sweat, either. He was like a Rolls Royce, just cruising around the football pitch.”

Carrick was incredibly underrated throughout his career and was a precursor for what was set to come in the Premier League. His ability to keep possession, start counter-attacks, and nullify the opposition would be worshipped in today’s league.

In Carrick’s time at Manchester United, his most significant achievements were his five Premier League titles and one Champions League trophy. Overall he won 17 trophies during his United career, winning every single medal possible for Manchester United.

He didn’t replace Roy Keane, But he wasn’t supposed to. Keane was a heavy-metal rocker, Carrick, as nicely put by Gary Neville, was a calm piano player.

“When you play with Michael Carrick, you think there is authority, control, peace. When you are on a football pitch playing against Liverpool or Manchester City, you need peace around you as well. You sometimes don’t want people running around like blue-arse flies. Scholes and Carrick together was peaceful.

It was like going into a bar and hearing a piano playing. It’s relaxing. Listening to some good rock is good, and you like that too, but sometimes it’s nice to listen to a piano. Carrick’s a piano.”

Casey Evans says… He was a pillar of everything that United stood for

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Manchester United Coach Michael Carrick celebrates at the end of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on December 2, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images) Mike has already said what needs to be told about Carrick’s career as a player, but to give my thoughts, he was a player who wasn’t truly appreciated until the end of his career.

Surrounded by a whole host of talented players, he was a constant; the player who could link it all together and make it all work. It is telling that this United team right now most needs a player like Carrick rather than any other single player from the 2000s era.

However, I feel like as he moved into being a coach, he has been given a hard time by fans, mainly due to the issues the team had under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Carrick joined the coaching staff to carry through the ideals of past United teams and pass over his experience to the new generation of players, but just like as a player; it became a thankless position.

Unfortunately, Carrick was thrust into such a senior position in the United team under a coach that was also learning on the job as ironically under someone like Ralf Rangnick, who could have taught him the intricacies of coaching and eventually management.

It is telling of both Carrick’s class and understanding of the team that he decided to step down when he did. He stayed long enough to transition into Rangnick and realised that his presence as one of the coaches who failed under Solskjaer would hold the team back.

He showed in his short stint as a caretaker manager that he has a decent level of managerial ability, making quick tactical changes to solve issues that the team had been suffering from, especially defensively.

Hopefully, he will be fondly remembered by the United fanbase for his entire spell at the club, and he will return to coaching soon.

What did you think of Michael Carrick’s career at Manchester United? Follow our United On My Mind editor Mike Parrott and United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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