Football FanCast columnist Johnny Moon is delighted to see Michael Carrick proving his worth at Manchester United and wonders if he is finally getting the recognition he deserves from the Old Trafford crowd.
He is without doubt one of the most understated players in the Premier League at the moment. Hopelessly overlooked by England and is it any wonder that we as a nation continue to struggle when we fail to rely on one of the most precocious talents in this country.
I'm a West Ham fan man and boy, and have had close associations with the youth set-up especially when Joey Cole first broke into the spotlight with all his tricks on a football pitch. He was really seen as the star pupil of that team that destroyed Coventry and walked the Youth Cup year, but you ask anyone in and around the club who was the star turn at the club, they will happily respond Michael Carrick; an extremely shy unassuming guy who was a giant on the football pitch.
I don't think there is anyone who watched Carrick playing in those days is surprised he is playing at the biggest club in the land, the only shock is that he has taken him so long to realise his potential. You ask Tottenham fans and they will say even going on two seasons that they have yet to replace him. They say you only appreciate things when they have gone and that is Michael Carrick. The eyes of a supporter only tend to see the skills and flair of others and don't fully appreciate the engine that keeps a team running and provide these guys with the platform to produce their array of skills. It happen all those years ago at West Ham which freed up Joe Cole and I'm certain that Cristiano Ronaldo or Rooney is just as appreciative of the contributions of the lad from Wallsend.
So how valuable is Carrick in the eyes of Manchester United supporters? I know there was a time last season where some of those at Old Trafford had reservations. Taking over the vacated No.16 shirt was always going to lead to unfair comparisons with Roy Keane. The summer signing of Owen Hargreaves also seemed to indicate the premature end to his career at the Champions, but I feel the attacking prowess that Carrick posses has tipped the favour among supporters who relish the amount of opportunities he creates.
Has he finally overcome his doubters and established himself as one of the first names one Sir Alex Ferguson's team sheet? I firmly believe he played a lot bigger role in bringing the title back to Old Trafford last season, than he was given credit for and pleased to see he has made a huge contribution this. There were plenty of eyebrows that were raised when Fergie parted £18.6m to secure his services; I can't help feel that is slowly proving a snip.