Arsene Wenger has said that he regrets not managing Michael Carrick at some point during his career.
Speaking to Arsenal.com on the day the midfielder celebrated 11 years at Old Trafford with a testimonial match, the Gunners boss said that he was an ‘admirer’ of Carrick and stressed that he was one of the best in English football:
“I give Michael my deepest congratulations for his testimonial, I think he deserves it hugely.
“I would say personally that I’m an admirer of his career, of his quality.
“One of my regrets is never having had him as a player because I think he was one of the greatest players in English football.
“I believe as well that he did not always get the reward and the tribute, the recognition he deserved.
“But I’m an admirer of Michael and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Carrick and Wenger's future
Carrick’s immediate future lies with United, after the former Spurs man signed a one-year extension on his contract to stay at Old Trafford until the summer of 2018.
With Wenger recently signing an extension on a deal of his own, there's still time for the two to work with one another it seems.
The Newcastle-born star has a history with being linked to Arsenal, first back in 2004 while he was at West Ham, shortly before he signed for north London rivals Tottenham, and as recently as February as Wenger looked to bolster his midfield.
The 35-year-old has played over 450 matches for United after he joined in 2006 from Tottenham. In that time, he cemented himself as one of United’s most important players, particularly when Sir Alex Ferguson, who also paid tribute to the Geordie, was in charge.
Despite his success at Old Trafford, nationwide recognition has been hard to come by. Carrick only managed 34 England caps during his career. He had the unenviable task of trying to compete for a place with the likes of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes in the centre of midfield and so he never really got enough a chance to demonstrate his ability in an England shirt down the years.
Carrick scored the equaliser during his testimonial which ended in a 2-2 draw between a side picked from Man United’s 2008 Champions League winning team and a side of Carrick all-stars.
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