Michael Carrick will lead Manchester United for his first ever game as a manager this week when the club faces Villarreal in the Champions League group stage.
Carrick has been named caretaker, following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the weekend, and will stay in charge until the club has settled on either an interim boss until the end of the season or can land one of their preferred targets sooner.
90min has already revealed that Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers are United’s two leading candidates to be Solskjaer’s permanent successor, with both willing to make the switch to Old Trafford immediately if an approach is made.
Carrick has been part of United’s coaching staff since the summer of 2018 when he was invited to join Jose Mourinho’s backroom team.
The midfielder, who made 464 appearances for United following his 2006 transfer from Tottenham, won five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two league cups, the Champions League, Europa League and FIFA Club World Cup during his illustrious playing career.
He was in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2012/13, United’s last title winning season, and was even named the club’s players’ player of the year by his teammates that campaign ahead of Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie.
Carrick was named captain in the summer of 2017 following Wayne Rooney’s departure, although treatment for an irregular heart rhythm limited him to only five appearances in the entirety of that season, which was his last as a player.
The offer to join the coaching staff was extended by Mourinho in January 2018, while Carrick was still officially registered as a player. He stayed at the club after the Portuguese was sacked in December 2018 and continued to work in a similar role under Solskjaer.
Within Solskjaer’s setup, Carrick shared duties with fellow first-team coach Kieran McKenna, preparing players for games by leading the pre-match meeting and passing on specific information and instructions.
Carrick has built experience under several of the world’s greatest managers, playing under Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, as well as working as a coach with the latter.
The 40-year-old is a calm presence on the touchline, never waving his arms or jumping about when he has entered the technical area in his coaching career to date – making him more of a Gareth Southgate as opposed to an Antonio Conte or Jurgen Klopp.
In a blog post for the FA’s Boot Room in 2020, Carrick explained the importance of understanding how to manage individuals. Part of that is not simply resorting to what he himself would have done as a player 10 or more years ago, because the changes to the game and different characters.
“As the generations go by the characteristics of players change a little bit and the personalities change a little bit because the world does – socially that’s just how it is. So, I think you really have to understand that and be able to deal with that,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say there is set way to coach. I think coaching is finding out about the individual and trying to get within a distance where there’s still a barrier, but close enough to have their trust and respect. Willingness to learn for players is key.
“As the coach you need to be able to push the right buttons at the right time.”