WATFORD, October 8 – When it comes to putting his medals on the table, Michael Carrick can produce a haul that eclipses even the most illustrious members of England's midfield, yet the Manchester United star still remains his country's forgotten man.Carrick has won more Premier League and Champions League silverware than Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have managed between them during their careers.
While Lampard has held the Premier League trophy twice, the Chelsea star has yet to taste Champions League success. Liverpool captain Gerrard lifted the European Cup in 2005, but he is still waiting for a first title victory.
Even Gareth Barry is ahead of Carrick in the midfield pecking order despite failing to win a single major trophy in his career to date.
Carrick has no such absences from his medal collection. Since joining United in 2006, the softly spoken 28-year-old has won three successive Premier League titles and helped United defeat Lampard’s Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final.
The former Tottenham player more than played his part in those triumphs, but starring for one of the world’s biggest clubs in Europe’s top club competitions has failed to persuade a succession of England managers of his worth.
Carrick has won just 19 caps for his country since making his debut in 2001 and has yet to feature in a competitive fixture under current England coach Fabio Capello.
For a player with such exquisite passing ability and assured reading of the game, it seems strange that Carrick has been such a bit-part player.
Even the man himself agrees that his international career has never really got started.
"It probably isn’t enough caps and I should have more," he said. "But I can’t look back on it now, I have to look forward.
"Maybe I can look back on things at the end of my career and say things about my career. I don’t think about it now.
"I should have more caps but things happen for a reason and things haven’t worked out with England as well as they could have done.
"Things haven’t fallen for me, but it’s not something I have focused on.
"You have to be performing to be in the team. It’s been a while since I started in a qualifier so hopefully the experience I’ve gained with United in top European games will help me when the chance comes along."
If Carrick wasn’t such a shy character, he might have been tempted to question why the likes of Sven Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren used him so little.
But he insists he does have a fierce competitive streak burning beneath his calm exterior.
"Without blowing my own trumpet, you can’t play in and win Champions League finals, win leagues and play for Manchester United without being able to cope with expectations. You have to be a top player," he said.
"I don’t feel on the outside. England is different to United and I haven’t played as much as I would have liked at international level.
"You have to perform and to get into the team you have to please the manager and do things he wants. It’s not easy as there aren’t so many games as there are at club level so you have to take them when they come along.
"I had one game at the last World Cup which was great for me but I didn’t manage to nail down the place. But the squad has a diferent feel and I would hope that when I get the chance I can take it now."