Michael Carrick is happy to see England players enjoying themselves under Gareth Southgate after experiencing his own international frustrations.
The 37-year-old was part of the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads, but freely admits in his autobiography ‘Between the Lines’ that his Three Lions experience was not what he hoped it would be.
Carrick did not always enjoy representing his country, so the former midfielder was delighted to see enthusiasm and excitement injected back into the national team during their summer run to the semis.
“It’s quite refreshing to see the enjoyment back, really – from the players, from the country in general,” Carrick told Press Association Sport.
“That’s what you are craving at a World Cup. That’s what it should be like.
“Unfortunately, some of the experiences I’ve had it wasn’t like that – and that was from me, from the squad, from the media, from the country.
“It kind of all blew up, really! Which is so sad to say, but that’s kind of how it was.
“But this time it was a different feeling, there was a freshness and a freedom about it and an enjoyment.
“And credit to Gareth for that because he has kind of manipulated that and guided the lads and created this environment, where they seem to have been able to shine and flourish.
“In some ways he has made a rod for his own back by getting to the semi-finals because now unless you’re absolutely flying then it’s never going to be good enough!
“But I am sure that they’ve got players and I am sure as a manager he’ll be successful in the years to come.”
England secured a point from a goalless draw with Croatia in the Nations League on Friday, when Southgate would have loved to call on a midfielder like Carrick.
The Manchester United captain-turned-coach grew up dreaming of running out for the Three Lions at Wembley after watching Italia 90.
But Carrick was arguably undervalued by several managers and only won 34 caps, with just seven of those appearances competitive starts.
“On one hand, I am really grateful and kind of proud of being able to play for England and in a World Cup,” he said.
“Even if it was one game at the World Cup in Germany, it was still one game.
“The feeling it gave me as well as my family, seeing what it meant to them, was incredible, so that’s one game.
“Of course, you get one, you want more.
“But even now, it’s not something I regret. I haven’t got any regrets over England. It is what it is.
“A tad frustrating maybe when I do look back, if I was sit down and think ‘that time or that time’ but it’s kind of more for myself to think ‘I could have done better there, I should have played better there, I had a bit of chance there’.
“That’s kind of more the route I go down.
“Managers have got to pick teams, haven’t they? Some players are getting left out. That’s just how it is.”