Alex Ferguson explains why he always knew Michael Carrick would be a success at Man Utd

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Eleven years on from when he joined the club, Michael Carrick is only just starting to receive the recognition he deserves at Manchester United.

The 35-year-old has made over 450 appearances for the Red Devils since joining from Tottenham in a deal worth up to £18 million in 2006 but hasn't necessarily always been a fan favourite.

And while the more glamorous Cristiano Ronaldos, Dimitar Berbatovs and Robin van Persies have come and gone, Carrick has been the mainstay in all of Manchester United's triumphs during the last decade.

Today he will be fittingly honoured with a testimonial at the Theatre of Dreams, with the 2008 Champions League winning side taking on an eye-catching selection of 'All-Stars'.

Carrick has even been able to persuade Sir Alex Ferguson to come out of retirement to manage the Man United team for one last time.

Although Carrick has played under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, of course, it was Ferguson who brought him to the club all those years ago.

And as part of the build-up to today's game, Fergie has recalled what had initially caught his eye about the central-midfielder.

The former United boss was always confident Carrick would make it at the very top because of something he did when he was 16.

"One of the things that stuck out to me when we were profiling him and preparing to make a bid was that as a young boy, 16 years of age, he left home to play for West Ham," Ferguson told Man United's official website.

"That tells you that the boy had the confidence that he was going to make it. A 16-year-old kid from Newcastle going to east London, that's a trek, and it impressed me.

"From the minute we bought Michael in 2006, his character has always been outstanding. He's a football man and that character, coupled with his ability, made him a certainty to be a big success at United."

Ferguson isn't the only familiar face returning to Old Trafford for Carrick's big day. Club legends Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are also expected to make an appearance.

And the pair have also shared their experiences of working alongside the England international, with Scholes even comparing him to a Rolls Royce.

Giggs added: "Playing both with Michael and against him, you realise what a great player he is. You would give him the ball and could trust him with it, he'd always make the right pass and he had that calming influence both on and off the pitch.

"I think ever since Michael joined the club, United have been winning trophies – he's been a special player and fully deserves his testimonial."

Scholes: "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 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."

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Ryan Giggs
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