Michael Carrick has told ESPN of his ambition to manage Manchester United but insists he has a lot to learn before he is ready for the Old Trafford hotseat.
Carrick, 37, hung up his boots in the summer to begin his coaching career as part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff at Old Trafford, and the former midfielder is hopeful it is the first step on the road to proving he is up to the top job when the time comes.
“It’s impossible for me to sit here and talk in those terms at this stage,” Carrick told ESPN at the launch of his autobiography Between the Lines — the profits of which will go to the Michael Carrick foundation. “I’ve got too much respect for the position and for the club. But, yeah, of course, if I’m good, if it fits, it would be absolutely incredible.
“There’s a lot to go on before then and we all know what football brings so I won’t be getting carried away with myself just yet.”
Carrick has seen former England teammates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard take their first jobs in management this season, with Rangers and Derby County respectively.
Former United teammates Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand have chosen to move into punditry since the end of their playing careers but Carrick is keen to follow Gerrard and Lampard into the dugout — whether that’s with United or not.
“Long term, I would say yeah I would like to be a manager one day,” he said. “I haven’t got a pathway or a plan. You just don’t know. You don’t know what’s going to happen but I’m in such a privileged position as it stands now and I’m grateful for where I am at this stage of my coaching career.
“I’m trying to support the manager, support the lads and do that role the best I possibly can. At the same time I’m trying to suck in all that information that I’m learning all the time from the manager.
“It’s the same as when you started out as footballer. You’ve got the dream but is it going to happen? I don’t know. Now it’s something that I’m looking towards but I don’t know. It’s something that I’m certainly set towards.”
Carrick will have a wealth of knowledge to draw from when he does make the step up to become a manager after spells under Harry Redknapp, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Fabio Capello, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho.
He also has plenty of experience of his own after 12 seasons at Old Trafford that included five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
And Carrick is hoping his battle with depression in the aftermath of the 2009 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona will help him spot the signs and look after players off the pitch, as well.
“It’s part of the challenge of a coach to get the balance of understanding if there is something going on or whether it’s a performance thing,” he said. “Of course I’m going to pull on my experiences and try to use them to help me in certain situations and I’m sure that time when I found it tough, when I see lads who are having a tough time, I can relate to that.
“It’s not identical and I’m not saying I know how they feel but I can relate if their head is filled with so much stuff that you can’t see clearly. That leads into your football.
“All of a sudden your decision making becomes clouded, instead of seeing that one pass you start seeing five or six options and picking the wrong one at the wrong time and then your game caves in.
“You get down about your game and it’s a spiral. That’s just something I had to deal with. You look at sportspeople and sometimes think they’re invincible or they should be invincible. Life isn’t always like that.”