In his heyday, Michael Carrick played among a Manchester United side that could take on the world.
They had solidity, pace and flair in abundance and the Premier League’s greatest ever manager at the helm. Bar the fans, nothing about them was boring.
Fast forwarding to today, as Michael Carrick prepares to hang up his boots, things couldn’t be any different.
United have become a unit of tedium; a powerful force for boredom.
With the dishevelled broken record of Jose Mourinho grinding out both results and his players’ desire to wake up in the morning, the Red Devils are getting on everybody’s nerves.
They’ve become that one little kid at the adult’s party who bugs everyone for another J20 or to listen to their story about collecting matchsticks, when their Mummy said they shouldn’t because it’s dangerous. Boring little nuisance.
Sadly, Michael Carrick reflects this most recent incarnation of Manchester United, more so than he ever did with the jaw-dropping brilliance under Sir Alex Ferguson.
His latest career move is one that should send hordes of aspiring young footballers into a terror-induced meltdown. Michael Carrick, possibly the world’s dullest man, is becoming a coach.
During Saturday’s win over Swansea, eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed the 36-year-old sat next to the United gaffer, Jose Mourinho, on the bench with the coaching staff.
Mourinho has said on the decision, “It’s only for next season really but, this season, he is already coming and sharing a little bit of our space.
“We are opening the door for him to not have a difficult transition next season. So, this season, he’s doing little things.
“He is learning, not the football of course, but the other side of the life and I think it’s a good experience for him until the end of the season.”
Without falling into a deep stupor, try and picture it now.
Carrick, like other greying former United players – we’re looking at you, Giggsy – is one of the least coach-like men in Christendom.
The bloke couldn’t get a singalong on New Year going, let alone a team of millionaire footballers. To be less inspiring than Jose Mourinho – the human embodiment of a funeral dirge – is some feat. At least the Portuguese boss can liven things up with his jokes about Luke Shaw’s shape.
All we can imagine Carrick doing is spouting on about how he was once the most underrated player of a generation; a fact that has now conversely lead to him being wildly overrated.
No one wants the workhorse held up as inspiration; they want the thoroughbred stallion instead. Carrick, by definition in his role as a steadfast defensive mid, does not rouse the spirits.
He’ll be the sort of coach to think the warm up is a riveting bit of banter and that anything bar 4-4-2 is an exotic experiment to be avoided at all costs. And, worse still, we’ve spotted a worrying trend.
David Beckham aside, we can’t think of one British Manchester United veteran we’d want to share a pint with.
Five of the Class of ‘92 are about as big of a laugh as VD and when you throw Carrick, Rooney and Fletcher into the mix, you end up with a group duller than that lad at the party and his matchstick collection.
What is it about United that breeds tedium?
We can’t be sure, but one thing’s for certain: having Mr Carrick in the changing room will do nothing but bore and disenchant an already blistered squad. From the nasal, monotone team talks to the newly ordered beige training kit, Carrick won’t come close to energising his players wherever he ends up.
Though, having said that, it could be worse. He could have become a pundit. Better stick with the coaching, Mikey.