England’s Michael Carrick prepares for a busy end to the season.
England’s central midfield has often produced players of outstanding quality and ability, and Fabio Capello’s current crop of contenders vying for the position is no different. Manchester United’s Michael Carrick is one such player, having come to the fore in recent seasons as an established member of the Premier League Champions’ side.
Carrick has long been lauded as a talented and creative midfielder, recognised for his incisive passing and cultured reading of the game, qualities that have seen him involved regularly in the England squad. Now, however, with the season reaching its climax and all eyes turning to the World Cup, Carrick aims to hit his straps and produce the form that will guarantee him his ticket to South Africa 2010.
“This is the business end of the season. As players we just want to be hitting good form and getting into the manager’s thoughts to go to South Africa. Hopefully the majority of the squad are all playing well and able to carry the momentum into the tournament,” said Carrick at a recent Nationwide Roadshow event.
“I’m excited now. For such a long time [the World Cup] seemed so far away but it seems quite close now, and once you’re in single figures in the League for games, it really is countdown. You blink and the season’s over and we’ll all be as a squad getting ready to go to Austria and the training camp, and that’s it then, you’re ready for action.”
With Manchester United still targeting success in the Premier League and Champions League, Carrick knows the importance of each remaining game and the impact they could have on his international aspirations.
“It’s just about concentrating on playing well and taking each game at a time. Every game now is of such high importance and has a real edge to it, and hopefully that will bring the best out of [Manchester United] and me as an individual. [That way] I’ll be in my best form come the end of the season when the [England] squad’s announced and give myself as good a chance as possible of getting in the squad,” he said.
And if he does secure a berth in Capello’s 23-man squad, glory at the World Cup could be the icing on a tremendous season.
“If we win the League it will be four times in a row and to do that would be an amazing achievement for us. The Champions League, bouncing back from the defeat we had in the Final last year – which really hurt us – is something that we’re determined to put right.
"And the World Cup speaks for itself. To go a long way and be successful and even win that would just be something dreams are made of, not just for the players but for everyone in England who cares about football. It would just be amazing.”